The Board of Directors is disappointed to announce that we will not be putting on our planned 35th Anniversary season of Shakespeare on the Green in Summer 2021.
Partially, this is because we are in uncharted waters when it comes to health and safety. Like other theatre companies, we need to be careful about bringing large groups of people together, so any production this summer would be very different from the relaxed, intimate experience our patrons have come to expect.
(And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse)
But a further reason is that a number of our company have resigned from the productions due to a belief that we are not making enough progress improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the organization. Like other cultural organizations in 2021, we are learning to navigate these new waters, we are on a steep learning curve and we have not shared all of the changes we have made. And we acknowledge that we are flawed-- we can be better and we are taking steps to be better. We are sorry that this internal disagreement over the pace of change has led to losing the season. However, we have taken many steps behind the scenes to modernize Nebraska Shakespeare-- changing the structure and membership of the board, creating a board committee on DEI, hiring a paid employee to focus on DEI, and hiring Inclusive Communities to lead discussions with board, staff, and members of the community. In parallel, we are executing long-planned national searches for a new Artistic Director and a new Executive Director. We are not perfect, but we are trying to make NS a better community member of not only Omaha but Nebraska as whole.
(They stumble that run fast)
We understand the artistic community is passionate-- that's why they are capable of making art that moves us. And we understand their eagerness to see immediate change. However, we are committed to building for the long term and want to make sure we get the right people to lead us into our next 35 years and beyond.
We think our community is better off with a strong Nebraska Shakespeare exposing our greatest playwright's work to as many Nebraskans as possible, and we will continue our work to do so. We hope that you get a chance to see our statewide tour production in the Fall, a hip-hop Romeo and Juliet.
(Well, heaven forgive him! And forgive us all!)
We're sorry that we won't be able to put on the productions that the community expects. (Particularly after losing last season to COVID.) But Shakespeare will be here long after all of us shuffle off our mortal coil, and it's our privilege to be able to present his works to the people of Nebraska.
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another,
The Board of Nebraska Shakespeare