Shakespeare Walla Walla
Shakespeare Walla Walla is a professional 501(c)3 theater and educational organization that aims to make Shakespeare and theater approachable and entertaining to students in eastern Washington and Oregon.
In early 2008, a community-based group organized Shakespeare Uncork'd Walla Walla and entered into a partnership arrangement with Seattle Shakespeare Company to bring professional, approachable Shakespeare plays to the beautiful outdoor setting of the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater. That summer, the company generated great excitement with its its first production: Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The partnership also began an education program of workshops incorporating teaching/actors into several of the local schools.
In 2009, the partnership formalized as a Washington State non-profit and received 501(c)(3) status under the operating name of Shakespeare Walla Walla.
In 2010, several founding members of Shakespeare Walla Walla formed a Limited Liability Company, with the express purpose of purchasing and refurbishing an historic building, the original power generation plant for the City of Walla Walla, to create an indoor home for Shakespeare Walla Walla. The Power House building is roughly the same size and shape as the Blackfriars Theatre in London, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, and the refurbished theater was designed to mimic the dimensions and layout of the Blackfriars.
Since 2011, Shakespeare Walla Walla has performed exclusively in the Gesa Power House Theatre, a for-profit venue with a steady lineup of entertainment and events.
Ron Williams was appointed as the Executive Director of Shakespeare Walla Walla in 2013. He has an extensive background in regional theater, film, and television. His career has taken him from Southern California, to Florida, to Italy, to Seattle, to Walla Walla.
Community involvement is at the heart of Williams’ vision. “I am looking to partner with local schools, universities, the symphony, dance companies, and performance groups,” says Williams. “I can foresee wonderful performances in vineyards and wineries as well as in the theater. I’m also looking to expand the program to include theater camp, writers’ workshops, improvisation workshops, and a lecture series. I look forward to working with anyone who wants to come play with us,” says Williams. “The door is wide open.”
Kate Beck, a long-time Walla Wallan, joined Shakespeare Walla Walla first as a teaching artist and later as the Education Director in 2014. She holds a BA in English and Spanish from Walla Walla University along with a Washington State Certification in Secondary Education.