A campaign to raise $4 million to build a new permanent, amphitheatre-style home for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is little over three-quarters of the way to its goal.Staging the Future campaign co-chairs Irene Seiferling and Jerry Grandey announced that $3.2 million has been raised through private donations from the community so far.The announcement came as present and former staff, patrons and volunteers with Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan filled its tent to celebrate the company’s past, present and future as it nears the end of its 35th season.The campaign has a wish list mapped out for an additional $1 million, as well.
Former Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Artistic Director Henry Woolf honours members of the company who have been with it for 30 years during a celebration of the its past, present and future after 35 seasons.
Liam Richards /
Following a matinee performance of As You Like It, Beverlery Kobelsky, Paul Denham and Stephen Wade were knighted with wooden prop swords for their 30 years of service in some form to the company. Special guests Mayor Charlie Clark and two of the company’s former artistic directors took turns doing the knighting.Former artistic director Henry Woolf (1991-2001) gave a toast to all those gathered at the site. He expressed his feelings about the company’s anniversary and future with a poem: “In the magic box, by the river, miles of faces breathe content as the waters wash the mud from the globe of their dreams.”His successor, Mark von Eschen (2001-2014), said that he’s looking forward to having an all-season site that can be used by other groups in Saskatoon.“People who have not thought about this as a performance venue or a gathering venue for them are all of the sudden going to go, hey, we can do this on the river, we can do our thing down there as well.”The new permanent facility has benefits from a logistics perspective as well, he added.“Being able to come in on a Friday morning and set up a show and be doing it on Friday night is spectacular when for so many years, for 35 years, we’ve been building for six weeks before we open the doors,” von Eschen said.While the celebration was originally planned as a sod-turning event for the new facility, it’s being postponed as the organization waits to confirm the status of grant applications. “We’re very hopeful that it can occur in the next few months,” said Alan Long, director of marketing and development for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan.The company is now waiting for federal and provincial funding, the latter of which may be in jeopardy due to a federal-provincial dispute over infrastructure funding which has the province threatening to decline to fund the project.It came as a result of the provincial government wanting to use money intended for transit to fund the Shakespeare project and two others, so that a $56-million pot of recreation and culture funding can be used for other projects in smaller Saskatchewan communities.The Shakespeare project and an upgrade to the Gordie Howe Sports Complex were approved for federal funding on July 8.The off-white tent that has housed Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan for decades went up for the last time this year. As You Like It and Comedy of Errors run until Aug. email@example.comRelated