Many attendees dressed up in their homes, though for the participating actors, this year’s Shakespeare Theatre Company Gala was a Come As You Are occasion.
STC Artistic Director Simon Godwin led the theatre’s inaugural virtual Gala, celebrating both Shakespeare — and the theatre’s — history and future. The event traveled around the world to hear Shakespeare spoken in at least two dozen languages, from The Bard’s home country of England to the deserts of northern Africa.
“Shakespeare is indeed, everywhere,” said Godwin, speaking live from STC’s Sidney Harmon Hall as he walked the empty set of The Amen Corner, the play which was showing when theaters closed in March.
In what Godwin called “a tasting menu of everything from Shakespeare to opera, to jazz and so much more,” the night saw artistic vignettes from the far reaches of the globe as well as testimonials from notables sharing their true love of Shakespeare and his works.
Angela Bassett, Annette Benning, Maureen Dowd, Ralph Fiennes, Liev Schrieber, Joe Morton, Dame Helen Mirren, and Dame Judy Dench were among those who spoke directly to STC’s gala audience.
“Our aim is to make this experience both hopeful and healing,” Godwin offered, alternating between presenting creative acts, introducing famous faces, and asking for monetary pledges throughout the evening.
The event also included an online auction, which featured wines from around the world, STC costumes, an Alaskan Cruise for Two, and even a seminar on Closing the Peace Deal with the Taliban.
Overall, the Company raised over $650,000, which helps keep STC in business as well as contributing to its educational programs.