Dear Del Shakes Family,
For many of us, it’s a challenge to think of Delaware Shakespeare without David Stradley.
As an actor, he first appeared in As You Like It, the company’s second-ever production back in 2004 — and has been with the company ever since, acting in several productions before joining the Board of Directors in 2007. He became our Producing Artistic Director in 2011, and over the past 12 years, David has taken Del Shakes to places few could ever have imagined, building on the successes of founding Artistic Director Molly Cahill Govern and founding Managing Director Greg Robleto.
David’s passion for the words of Shakespeare and the work of bringing our community together is what first brought me to the park, and then to the board, and then to my current position. It’s been an honor to work alongside David as board president these past four (tumultuous) years.
And so it falls to me to announce the news: David says that the time has come for him to step away from Delaware Shakespeare, as he seeks new opportunities that will allow him to spend more time with his young family.
I could spend pages here listing David’s accomplishments over the past 12 years — the Community Tour, the NEA grants, the work that has brought real and exciting diversity to our stages and artistic process — and believe me, we will celebrate David before we allow him to leave, as uncomfortable as we all know that will make him. (Watch for news on that soon.)
But I also want to say this: David devoted energies over nearly two decades of his life to turn Delaware Shakespeare into a place where people from all walks of life can gather together to explore and celebrate their shared humanity through the lens of Shakespearean works. In that time, Del Shakes has become more than a company. It has become a community – of artists, collaborators, staff members, partners, volunteers, audiences and donors – all of whom are committed to this work.
And this work shall continue.
The board has voted to open two new positions at Delaware Shakespeare – an artistic director and a managing director. We have just completed a strategic planning process where we asked the question: How do we nurture an abundant cultural ecosystem and reduce barriers to create meaningful engagement with Shakespeare-inspired theatre? This is now a question for all of us, and for a new generation at Delaware Shakespeare. A search for those leaders will begin immediately. David will continue to serve until the end of the calendar year.
On a personal level, I’m sad that I will no longer have David as a colleague on a day-to-day basis, but I know we will continue to feel his presence for years to come (hopefully from a lawn chair, with his family and a full picnic of cheeses in front of him).
But, to quote Cassius, the future of Del Shakes “is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
David leaves behind a legacy that is now ours — not to protect, but to invest. Delaware Shakespeare will continue on its mission to bring our community together. We look forward to building that future with you. Please feel free to reach out to me with any thoughts or questions you have about where Delaware Shakespeare is going. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing many of you this fall, as David celebrates his final production as Producing Artistic Director with Cymbeline on the Delaware Shakespeare Community Tour.
Julie Sulzbacher Russ