Co-founded in 1994 by educators, actors and Shakespeare aficionados Kevin Dressler and Randy Messersmith, Southwest Shakespeare emphasizes education and making Shakespeare understandable to the masses. In 2000, Jared Sakren — a member of the first graduating class of the Julliard Drama Division and a founding member of John Houseman’s The Acting Company — came aboard as SSC’s artistic director.
For its first 11 seasons, SSC presented its fall and spring shows in the outdoor Mesa Amphitheatre and its winter show indoors at Mountain View or Westwood High School. In 2005-06, the company moved to the new Mesa Arts Center, a $94.5 million facility located in downtown Mesa, and the season was expanded to five shows. SSC’s representative 2010-2011 slate of productions was scheduled to include Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Antony and Cleopatra, as well as Blood Royal (Michael Flachmann’s original adaptation of the Bard’s Henry VI trilogy) and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
- Performance Venues: Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse Theater, Anita Cox Farnsworth Studio Theater, Virginia G. Piper Repertory Theater, all located at the Mesa Arts Center
- Public Transportation: Good (accessible by buses 40 and 112, and the Valley Metro LINK at Main Street/Center Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performance/Programs: Approximately five full productions each season
- Admission: Individual ticket prices vary ($8.50 – $31.50) depending on performance, venue and seating choice
- Subscription/Memberships: Season tickets available in two options: 5-show Series Premium ($140) offers one admission to each of the five season productions, while the ‘Flex’ Series Premium ($90) allows admission to three of the five. Season ticket holders may purchase additional individual tickets for $20 each
- Group Rates: Group admission rates are available. Contact information available through the website.