Oskar Eustis Must-See Opening Night Speech for Julius Caesar

by Michael Eddy

While corporate sponsors are often a lifeblood of many regional and not-for-profit theaters, there is always the double-edge when those sponsors perhaps don't share the conviction of the theater to free artistic expression. A not so minor democratic value. As many theaters will need to start looking toward greater corporate and foundation sponsorships, due to the current political threats of cuts to arts funding, what is happening in New York at The Public with its sponsors should be watched closely, and discussed widely. On Sunday, June 11, Delta Airlines withdrew their full corporate support from The Public Theater and Bank of America pulled their support from The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar.  Just before the start of the opening night performance at the Delacorte Theater on Monday evening, Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public and the director of Julius Caesar spoke to the audience. His speech is worth hearing and considering. 

 We at Stage Directions also feel that our contributing writer Howard Sherman, through the Arts Integrity Initiative is doing some important coverage of this conversation and has an insightful perspective on the controversy. I urge you to read his detailed and thought-provoking look at the ongoing developments of this conversation at http://www.artsintegrity.org/so-are-they-all-all-honorable-corporations/

Here also is the Director's Note as appears on The Public Theater's website:

A Letter from Oskar Eustis

Be sure to read all the various interested parties statements regarding the sponsorship controversy in our article: Statements on Julius Caesar at The Public Theaterand Berkeley Rep Responds to Julius Caesar Controversy