I'm so glad we have a place to make this stuff happen!
- Penguin Productions participant
Welcome to a 2017 Penguin Production Holiday Letter! Here is some of what we've been up to this year!
July: Penguin Productions launches with Operation 1600, a commissioned work from Frank Garland (Harvard, '20) that plays to sold-out houses at West of Lenin and will have a remount at Harvard next year.
July: Playing Around, a unique class brings a cohort of 10 teen artists into theater spaces all around Seattle, discussing budgets and artistic choices and the way different spaces and organizations impact the work. The class culminates with a performance of student-directed work at West of Lenin, along with “artistic credos” that are deeply moving and profoundly inspirational.
September: Kyna Shilling designs a website, and Kayla Brooks takes on the role of Marketing Manager, coordinating social media, outreach, and marketing materials.
Fall: The Hamlet Project, an ambitious adventure with 18 young artists, mashes up Shakespeare and Stoppard culminating in a final performance at Taproot's Isaac Studio. Also, Scripts for Living, a homeschool class where we read something like 20 classic and contemporary plays and have fantastic discussions about art and life.
Winter: The Princess Bride does what a great break camp should do – provides tons of laughter and learning throughout a whirlwind week, involves advanced students in leadership positions, integrates new students and families, and culminates in a full house of family and friends at West of Lenin in a nearly flawless (and entirely off-book!) performance.
Also Winter: The Best Shakespeare Pageant Ever brings together over 20 performers ages 10-50 and a full house of family and friends ages 8-78 in a lovely neighborhood church for a day of theater-making, socializing, and holiday celebration.
Looking Ahead: Shana collaborates with student Tyler Wood on directing The Tempest, a project conceived, pitched, and envisioned by Tyler. We go further into student-driven exploration with Penguin Projects, a chance to work on exciting scenes, develop complex character, and grow ensemble and independent artistic vision. And we all go see some theater together and talk about it, with Penguins on the Town! It's not too late to get involved! Click HERE for more info!
Also Looking Ahead: there are 2018 seniors (that is, class of '18, not 2018 of them) who want a show, and some juniors and recent grads who want to help them. We have many partnership possibilities on the horizon, including sharing space at 12th Avenue Arts with the G&S Society, touring productions with the Seattle Public Library, co-producing with members of the former Bathhouse Ensemble, and class collaborations with Foundry10.
All of this is happening without demanding tuition – financial participation in all Penguin activities is purely voluntary. So far this is working - we end this year in a stable financial position, and we look forward to expanding and deepening our reach in 2018.
All this is possible because of the authentic, rigorous, and beautiful support of this amazing community. This is been a tough year all around, and I think many of us have wanted to throw in the towel and leave the planet at one point or another. But the bonds that we make working together on a project, sharing an evening of theater, talking about plays and life and growing up and moving forward – these are tenacious tethers, reminding us that this world is worth fighting for, that stories are worth telling, that there are trustworthy, compassionate, interesting people in our midst who enrich and give meaning to the whole shebang.
Producing Artistic Director
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