The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival has survived for 35 years without any grants, sponsorship or any external financial support, living year to year entirely on ticket sales. We have a charitable and educational focus, too, and this year the total raised for our nominated charities - the Children's Hospice in Cambridge and St John's Hospice on the Wirral - reached £112,279.
The global pandemic demonstrated all too clearly that our existence is a precarious one, and the cancellation of the 2020 Festival continues to threaten our survival. Thanks to the wonderful support we received last year we were able to live on – but only just! We were able to go ahead, with a reduced offering, but audience confidence was low and so numbers were far lower than normal.
We came back from the brink of extinction, but it will take several years to recover. Although we are able to produce the Festival this year, the event was blighted by the virus, and our productions of King Lear and As You Like It, in particular, were decimated by infection, as one cast member after another succumbed to its influence. The cancellation of performances was very costly.
This appeal is for those who might wish to invest in the future of the Festival and support our efforts as we sail into uncertain waters. We know from the many messages we receive that we have a very loyal following and have received tremendous support in the past. The Shakespeare Festival is a valued artistic and community event in Cambridge and we hope we are able to give back to the region for many years to come. With the support of our followers I'm sure we will succeed. Thank you.