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Georgia Shakespeare closes its doors | Arts & Culture

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Georgia Shakespeare closes its doors
Arts & Culture, News
Georgia Shakespeare closes its doors

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. -- Georgia Shakespeare has shut down after 29 years in metro Atlanta.

The Oglethorpe University-based theater company announced Wednesday that its board of trustees unanimously voted to cease operations. Board chairman Daniel Norris said Georgia Shakespeare did not have enough money to move forward.

In September, the company canceled its scheduled production of Henry V as it worked to establish a financial plan for the future.

"We were unable to secure the funds required to create a sustainable path," Norris said. "Consequently, we came to the sad conclusion that we needed to cease operations."

Georgia Shakespeare started in 1986 as a summer festival and went on to become a key player in Atlanta's theater scene.

"We believe this is a huge loss for Atlanta, given the critical role Georgia Shakespeare has played in the city's cultural ecosystem," Norris said.

Company managing director Jennifer Bauer-Lyons said that despite financial woes, Georgia Shakespeare had a very successful year, setting a single show attendance record for a Piedmont Park production of As You Like It and selling out Oglethorpe's Conant Performing Arts Center for the first time in years during the run of British comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.

"We made great progress in recent years in creating a sustainable business model, but our lack of operating capital made us extremely fragile financially," Bauer-Lyons said. "Many people have fought heroically to enable Georgia Shakespeare to keep producing world-class theater with great local artists, but ultimately we were not able to attract the operating capital required for us to operate as a healthy organization."

It wasn't the first time Georgia Shakespeare faced a money crisis. In 2011, it launched an emergency fundraising campaign to save its fall season. Patrons and fans came through, donating thousands of dollars to the company.

Anyone who bought tickets to Georgia Shakespeare's upcoming production of A Holiday Panto can visit gashakespeare.org to find out what to do.

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