Anthony Lawton, The Winter's Tale, 2007. Photography by Lee A. Butz
The mission of The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate professional productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to the works of Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of educational outreach and mentorship programs.
The Festival's core values:
Quality: the revelation of beauty through transformative artistry
Shakespeare: producing plays of the greatest playwright in the English language
Education: illuminating Shakespeare, the power of language, and the professional theatre
Relationships: cultivating and mobilizing enduring collaborative alliances
Vision 2030: A World –Class PSF
By 2030, the following statements will be true:
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is a world-class Shakespeare festival, celebrated regionally and recognized nationally for a level of artistry consistent with leading regional theatres.
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival enriches the human community through the revelation of beauty and the illumination of fundamental truths of human experience
Two years before the 20th anniversary season, the leadership at PSF, led by Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, recognized the importance of assessing the Festival's founding and developing years and looking ahead to a point on the horizon 20 years from now. PSF needed a vision for what the Festival would become and a strategic plan to bring that potential to fruition.
A committee was formed, including the leadership of the Festival, the founder, board members, a Broadway producer, a managing director of one of the nation's leading regional theatres, and the retired head of global strategy for a Fortune 500 company in our area. The Festival engaged a consultant from the top arts management consulting company nationally to facilitate a retreat in the fall of 2009, and the results were…visionary.
At the retreat, Mulcahy read an inspirational description of a patron's experience visiting PSF in the year 2030 (available at www.pashakespeare.org) that set the tone for the development of a bold vision statement. (See above).
The next step in the process identified what that vision would look like in the form of a major concrete goal, often called a BHAG—big, hairy, audacious goal. The PSF 2030 BHAG includes an expanded summer festival—doubling the current duration and running mid-May through late August, doubling attendance by becoming a destination theatre as well as a regional attraction, featuring six major productions, three of which are Shakespeare plays, running in repertory so that destination travelers can see five or six plays in a single visit, hiring an industry-leading actor or two each season, featuring productions that would start here and have a future life on tour or on Broadway, opening a Shakespeare Café, and building a third performance venue to help make it all possible.
Achieving this vision requires a corresponding foundation of support, which in turn requires innovation, insightful planning, and focused execution. The next crucial task was a detailed, measurable, objective-driven five-year plan aimed at a major step change for the Festival in the direction of the vision.
PSF's five-year plan initiates many of the elements of the larger vision. We start strong this season with productions in rep, a third Shakespeare play, a transition from the outdoor Greenshow to a more atmospheric pre-show experience called On the Green (our first step towards the Shakespeare Café), and steps to continue strengthening the Festival's financial footing. Each objective requires resources to accomplish. Some resources are already present, including ingenuity and determination, some are anticipated in the plan, such as additional staff and new revenue.
PSF is in pursuit of an exhilarating and inspiring vision. We are blessed with a terrific staff, tremendous support from DeSales University and the many constituencies committed to the Festival, and the ever-deepening good will and gratitude of our patrons.
The achievement of these goals is not only possible but is the natural manifestation of both the inspiration and the "perspiration" employed at the Festival's founding, magnified over these past two decades by all those who gave of themselves to infuse the work with their talent.
Today, as we lay the footings for the next major stage in the Festival's development, inspiration continues as our most precious resource, the raw material we will fashion into the transformative work at the heart of the Festival's future.