Strategies for Change at the Shakespeare Festival

December 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

For its 54th summer season the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will see changes that, as the producing artistic director Philip Sneed just announced, will lead the festival to “get leaner, longer and louder”. He is taking a direction that might be crucial for this particular arts organization, but can also be relevant for arts institutions in general. Therefore it should be of high interest to us, not only to fulfill hypothetical tasks for special classes, but first and foremost to see how organizations are coping with challenges in the real world and to be able to make sophisticated decisions that achieve sustained success within the organization we will be working with. Which ways and means exist to provoke an organizational turnaround? Often financial difficulties are the determining factor to start a process of change.

Here are the strategies for change of the Shakespeare Festival:
• Extend the season with fewer plays and fewer actors
• Have a major collaboration with an international theater, resulting in bi-lingual performances
• Use technology to meet audience expectations at the outside venue

I see the point of performing one piece after another, instead of having two plays at the same time, which will help to lower labor costs. But at the same time the use of new technology will rather raise the company’s expenses, but might help to attract a larger audience. Though the company receives supported through different grants, it currently seems to have financial trouble, but still expects to break even for 2010. Next year we will see which effect Sneed’s strategy of change will have on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

– Ricarda

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