In Memory of Our Founder

Audrey Stanley
All of us at Santa Cruz Shakespeare mourn the death of Audrey Stanley, visionary founder, mentor, artist, and beloved friend.  Though we are deeply saddened by her loss, we celebrate her astonishing life and the rich legacies she leaves behind.
As the first woman to direct a Shakespeare play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1975, the first PhD in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley, and the first professor appointed to Theatre Arts at UCSC, she shattered barriers.  She also, however, was a tireless builder and creator, instrumental in establishing theatre departments, touring companies, and, of course, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the much-loved summer festival whose artistic tradition we continue to this day.
Audrey’s insistence on a Shakespeare company that thrived on the bridge between scholarship and art, a passion for community engagement, and a bold contemporary aesthetic launched a true repertory festival whose productions, both on and off campus, have reached over half a million audience members in more than forty years. We find comfort in the fact that, like Shakespeare, Audrey Stanley’s life and work will continue to touch and shape the lives of those she knew as well as the lives of countless theatre goers to come.
Her immortal effect on all of us is well-expressed in Sonnet 18 by the poet to whom she dedicated so much of her life:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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