“SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH SHAKESPEARE!” WHO KNEW THE BARD HAD SO MANY FRIENDS IN AND AROUND SEAL BEACH?
Many thanks, again, to all the sponsors and all who attended the SBCPAA”s August 3rd presentation of Shakespeare’s “A Mid Summer’s Night Dream” in Eisenhower Park and helped make it such a resounding success! My feeling was that I would be very happy to see 300 in attendance, which the director of the presenting company, “Shakespeare by the Sea” assured me would be a great turnout for a first time Shakespeare event. How about three times that? By the company’s head count, nearly 1000 filled Eisenhower Park, border to board on the East Side of the pier! The light sprinkling of rain seemed to add to the magic of the evening and every one stayed to give the cast many standing ovations. The comments from the audience were “wonderful evening of entainment….my three-year old was enthralled!”, “we’ve waited so long for culture like this in Seal Beach,” and “can’t wait to see what your do next.” It’s so rewarding, over a
month after the event, to be walking or going into a business on Main Street and still receive “kudos” for taking a leap of faith and bringing this experience of the great Shakespeare to our small hamlet-like “Mayberry by the Sea.” It was my pleasure!
Rest assured, Shakespeare in the Park will be back in August, 2015, and in the meantime, “stay tuned” for exciting announcements of more performing arts events to come in 9014 and 2015.
Culture Comes To Seal Beach Park! Interview with Esther Kenyon. August 7, 2014
Story and Photos my Dennis Kaser
About 1000 people braved overcast skies that threatened potential rain on Sunday evening to enjoy a performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the shade of the Seal Beach Pier in the seaside city’s Eisenhower Park.
The event was the first out of the gate for the recently established Seal Beach Community Performance Arts Association. In the feel-good family atmosphere, friends and neighbors enjoyed each others company along with teh group’s first of what its leaders say will be a variety of cultural events to come. The Sun spoke to Esther Kenyon, the organization’s founder and administrator this week, to discuss their first cultural event.
Q: What did you think of the attendance on Sunday? Were you surprised so many people turned out on a Sunday evening?
A: I was completely and delightedly surprised by the size of the audience Sunday night. Being from Iowa, “if you build it, they will come,” that famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” was always in the back of my mind when I decided to bring Shakespeare to Seal Beach. I truly believed there was a community audience who would respond to attending a free outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play, but I was resolved to be happy with perhaps 300-400 in attendance. Seeing the park fill up, border to border, Sunday evening with nearly 1000 in attendance was quite thrilling!
Q: Did you receive much feedback from people who attended and what were they saying?
A: During intermission and after the performance I walked through the crowd and as I had spoken to the audience from the stage prior to the performance, I was recognized by many attendees and their comments to me were very complimentary, thanking me for bringing Shakespeare to Seal Beach, saying it was a “great production,” “wonderful evening of entertainment,” “we’ve waited so long for culture like this in Seal Beach,” and “can’t wait to see what you do next.”
Q: With the success of this first event, how does that bode for future SBCPAA events? What does the SBCPAA have in store for its next event? Do you know when that might be?
A: Building on the success of this first cultural arts presentation, the SBCPAA is encouraged to begin our plans to create a subscription concert series with two performances the Fall of 2014 and two performances in the Spring of 2015. We hope to do a dramatic two-person play in October and a production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” a charming opera about the journey of the Magi to find the Christ Child, in December. In the Spring, we would like to schedule a small chamber orchestra and also a vocal performance, possibly a local, outstanding
choir. Our plans now are to perform in the 650 seat auditorium of McGaugh School. However, I still have my eye on the Bay Theatre for a performing arts theatre sometime in the future!
Q: Have members of the public made many suggestions on what kind of event(s) they would like to see the SBCPAA produce in the future? How can people donate to the SBCPAA?
A: I know learning from the community what type of programming they would like to see is important so within the next month, we will be sending out a newsletter with a survey form on by which they will be able to give us suggestions and also volunteer to help with their support. We have formed a “Friends of Seal Beach Arts” whose mission will be to provide volunteers for events and also plan fundraising events. If persons in the community are not on our mailing list, they can sign up on our web site, www. sealbeacharts.org and join this membership organization. Also, as most everyone knows, providing arts events is very expensive so donations from the public to help further our mission, would be gratefully accepted. We are a non-profit, 501 © 3, charitable organization, so all donations are tax-deductible. Again, our web site is available to receive donations and we “thank you” in advance!
Q: Did the SBCPAA get much assistance from the City of Seal Beach?
A: We are especially pleased that from the onset of our announcement of our Shakespeare plans, the City of Seal Beach has been behind us 100%. A grant from the City Council waived fees for the use of Eisenhower Park and other City services to insure the evening was a success. May we also take this opportunity to publicly thank our many sponsors without whose generous support our Shakespeare event would not have been possible: BayTown Realty, Sun News Paper, Craton & Switzer Law, MarketSnag, Blaster Web Services, O’Malley’s, Lions Club, Main Street Realty, Affliction Clothing, Joie de Vivre, Ask Erik, Wells Fargo, State Farm, Marcella McSorley, Glory Days Beachside Grill, Coldstone Creamery, Walt’s Wharf, SoCal Acupuncture, Harvey Girls Gallery, Endless Summer, Elison Rd., and All Coastal Real Estate. Again, our thanks for this outstanding support and thanks, too, to all who attended the evening and contributed to its outstanding success!