Baltimore Shakespeare Festival shuts down after 17 seasons
The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, a significant force in the local theatrical community, is closing after 17 seasons.
"This is a very difficult decision that was made by our Board," marketing and development director Chris Pfingsten wrote in an email I received Wednesday. "Needless to say, [artistic director] Michael [Carleton] and I are very disappointed. ... Neither Michael nor I will be making any official statement regarding this decision other than to say we are very sad, but also extremely proud of the work that was created by our artists on the BSF stage."
In addition to presenting works by Shakespeare and others outdoors in the Meadow at the Evergreen Museum and Library, the company, one of three Equity theaters in Baltimore, staged works at St. Mary's in Roland Park, most recently an imaginative production of "Richard III" last November.
For an update on the company's financial problems, despite a $1 million anonymous donation in 2007, check out a story filed later in the day on the Sun's Web site.
In a press release, board president Peter Toran said:
“The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival has played a leading role in the growth and vitality of the local theater scene. The theater’s legacy will live on in the hundreds of careers that have been launched and nurtured on our stages, as well as in the literally thousands of area schoolchildren whose first exposure to theater and to Shakespeare came as a result of BSF’s educational programming.
I speak for the entire Board in expressing our gratitude to BSF’s generous supporters and loyal audience. We applaud the talented, dedicated theater artists who made the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival an enduring part of our cultural landscape.”
Pictured: Kim Schraf in Baltimore Shakespeare Festival's production of "Mrs. Kemble's Tempest"