Arts and Entertainment

Shakespeare fest faces changes | NOTABLE

The 2012 Island Shakespeare Festival presentation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” broke previous attendance records and brought visitors from around the world, according to a press release.

“Every season I have been delighted with the attendance for Island Shakespeare Festival. This year we saw a one-third increase over last year — which was double that of our first year — with a total attendance of nearly 3,000,” said Artistic Director Rose Woods. “We had many locals, of course, and we also saw audience members from all over the state; and all over the country — from Tucson, Ariz. to Tampa, Fla. There were even audience members from Canterbury-Kent, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Nairobi, Kenya!”

Next summer, Island Shakespeare Festival will present two of the Bard’s immortal works in new productions of “King Lear” and “Much Ado About Nothing,” with a possibility of one of the productions being staged at a venue in Langley itself.

At the same time, Woods made the announcement that the ongoing success of the Shakespeare Festival has led to a difficult decision.

“I have given my formal notice to step down as artistic director of Whidbey Children’s Theater in March 2013,” Woods said. “This decision was not an easy one to make, but for my own well being, as well as the health of both arts organizations, I feel that there is a risk that creativity and professionalism might be compromised if I continue operating two theater groups at this pace.”

Woods said her departure is bittersweet.

“I have uncountable joys and memories these past years,” she said in a press release. “I’ve been excited to witness continued growth with the children and their families as well as a newfound appreciation and enthusiasm in the community for Whidbey Children’s Theater. I think there is much more richness and joy ahead as Whidbey Children’s Theater continues to grow and thrive.”

Even as she departs her successes at Whidbey Children’s Theater, Woods said she is looking forward to a refinement of her artistic vision that will continue to benefit the South Whidbey community and its visitors.

“Island Shakespeare Festival’s growth has been unprecedented,” she said. “I am excited to put my focused energies there now.”

For more information, call 221-1710, email or visit


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