The Fund for Emerging Leaders in the Performing Arts

To honor Artistic / Executive Director Rick Dildine for his commitment to the creative economy and his efforts to support working artists in our community, and to provide a source of funding for initiatives he has begun, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is proud to announce the creation of:

The Fund for Emerging Leaders in the Performing Arts

The Fund for Emerging Leaders in the Performing Arts builds upon Rick’s commitment to St. Louis and its residents and highlights the institution’s commitment to community and the development of rising theatre leaders.

Under Rick’s leadership, notable new programs for the Festival include:

SHAKE 38, begun in 2010 as a 38-hour marathon, the annual program has become a widely popular, participatory open call, bringing the playwright’s entire 38-play canon to life in venues throughout the city in a five-day Shakespeare adventure all conceived and produced by St. Louisans.

Shakespeare in the Streets pairs neighborhood stories with a Shakespeare play and brings the playwright’s words and themes to life through community conversation. The Festival shut down a section of Cherokee Street in 2012 with The New World, an adaptation of The Tempest; then a block on Manchester in the Grove in 2013 with Old Heart’s Fresh, an adaptation of The Winter’s Tale, and this fall we will be in the middle of downtown Clayton with an as-yet unnamed take on As You Like It. Already underway for 2015, the Festival has begun the conversation with residents in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis.

Then, there is the past season’s groundbreaking two-play main stage production in Forest Park – which hosted over 6,000 in the audience for the first ever back to back presentation. These dedicated theater-goers, of all ages, and from all over the metro area, sat and watched six hours of British history – beginning with Henry IV at 4:30 and not ending Henry V until after 11pm. This double feature binge day was nothing less than electric.

Behind-the-scenes, Rick has also built incredible opportunities for emerging performing arts leaders, introduced rising theatre artists, and committed to St. Louis-based artists, most notably:

• a year-round roster of teaching artists from actors, to designers, to directors, working – In the Schools;
• a platform for professional actors, designers, and playwrights to work alongside community residents to create something brand new – In the Streets, and
• a rigorous pre-professional program for college students to work as Assistant Producers and Program Fellows supporting both the Festival’s production and management activities In the Park.

The short-term goal is to raise $50,000
before Rick officially leaves the Festival on August 31, 2014.

The total goal: $250,000 to fund the initiative over the next three years.

The intent of this new Fund is to both honor Rick and his vision while establishing three years of dedicated support for Shakespeare Festival to continue to develop these opportunities through strategic community collaboration and by creating a comprehensive program designed to further each individual’s career and path to leadership, which would also serve as a model for other arts organizations to do the same.

These funds directly support year-round teaching artists, community engagement professionals, and rising theatre leaders through our Fellowship program.