A Nod to the Past, An Eye Towards the Future

by Amanda Moths and Becca Jennings

On February 26th, FST will celebrate rebirth and revival at Shakespeare’s Shindig: A Modern Day Renaissance. Inspired by an iconic period of artistic and cultural transformation, this year’s annual fundraiser celebrates some of FST’s own exciting transformations with a nod to one of the most influential artists of the English Renaissance, William Shakespeare.

American theatre itself is experiencing a modern day renaissance. There are more people attending the theatre today than in any point in modern history. FST is experiencing this rebirth with new audiences, new buildings, and new opportunities to challenge with as much gusto as we entertain.

The Shindig will be a night of celebration for devoted friends of the theatre to reflect on the impact of their support, which allows FST to bring affordable and accessible theatre to over 200,000 each year. Together, we’ll also pave the way for the next wave of artists by helping raise the funds to put the finishing touches on the Kretzmer Artistic Residence, a home away from home for FST’s artists and interns. A one-night-only special performance starring local performers will pay tribute to how far FST has come since its founding in 1973.

At the event, FST will also present the distinguished Spelman award. Named in honor of FST’s founding Artistic Director, Jon Spelman, the Spelman Award has been granted to individuals and corporate sponsors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership by providing FST with spiritual, financial, and/or in-kind support.

“This is a night to celebrate all who help FST bring accessible and affordable theatre to the broadest possible audience,” says Managing Director Rebecca Hopkins. “From actors and stage crews to administrative staff, designers, and donors, it really does take a village of people to make our village of theatres run.’

This year, we have so much to be grateful for,” continues Hopkins. “Thanks to the Kretzmer Artist Residence, our actors and interns have a new artistic home, and soon our Costume Shop will be expanded and relocated to the Simonsen and Montminy Theatre Wing. Together, we’ve created our own Theatre Renaissance here in downtown Sarasota. What better way to celebrate than with a nod to another time when the theatre brought people together?”

Proceeds from Shakespeare’s Shindig will help pay for bedding, kitchen supplies, and other essentials needed to complete the Kretzmer Housing Project. Named for Ernie Kretzmer, in loving memory of his wife Alisa, this new housing complex in the Rosemary District of Sarasota was dedicated in Decemeber 2017, and will provide 20 new bedrooms for visiting artists, interns, and apprentices.

Heading the Shindig’s planning committee is long time FST supporter Marie Kropp. “Once again, and with pleasure, I look forward to chairing my third FST Shindig,” said Kropp. “The themes have been varied and it’s so much fun to meet and see all the supporters together. It just keeps getting better!”

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