Donor Spotlight

  • Long-time friends and SSC donors Janis and Scott Sachtjen, Susan and Mark Swanson, and Judy and Bob DeFranco prepare for a picnic prior to a performance.

    Photo: Jim MacKenzie

    Party of Six

    It all started with Scott Sachtjen, who discovered Shakespeare Santa Cruz when he was a UC Santa Cruz student. “SSC put on a performance for student workers in the summer of 1984, which I attended. I’ve been hooked ever since.” He brought his wife Janis to a performance, and their party continued to grow. “It sounded like fun, so we joined in,” said Susan Swanson.

    Shakespeare Santa Cruz became a key component in the social network for long-time friends Janis and Scott Sachtjen, Susan and Mark Swanson, and Judy and Bob DeFranco.

    The party of six buys season tickets and sees each production, usually picnicing in advance, always sitting together at performances, and discussing the play as they return to their cars. In fact, they choose to park further away so they have more time to talk. “SSC frees the performers and the audience from rigid classical interpretation,” said Scott. For Judy, “Live theater has an immediacy and connection with the audience. My world views changed when I was introduced to theater.”

    Among their many SSC memories: the “fallen tree” A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2001); the trailer park Merry Wives of Windsor (2002); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2004); Bach at Leipzig (2008), and the serendipitous fog, “a very powerful and ethereal bit of natural accompaniment for the excellent staging,” said Scott.

    All are SSC donors, and all of them give to help sustain SSC. In addition, “We like that they help develop new talent and support enrichment programs in local schools,” said Susan. Scott sees donating as “simply ‘paying it forward’, allowing the tradition to continue.”

    “We’ve shared SSC with many, many friends over the years,” said Scott. “We feel a strong commitment to this theater company and want it to continue to be enjoyed by everyone.”


  • George Ow and Gail Michaelis-Ow

    George Ow and Gail Michaelis-Ow

    From the first Shakespeare Santa Cruz performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1982, George Ow and Gail Michaelis-Ow knew they were on to something big. “Our good friend, Carolyn Reynolds, was working at UC Santa Cruz and said that Shakespeare Santa Cruz was going to be great, and we should support it,”recalled George. “She was right. Shakespeare Santa Cruz is still great and Carolyn is still our valued friend.”

    The long-time Santa Cruz residents—George was born at the Santa Cruz County Hospital and Gail has lived here for 42 years—have a strong commitment to the community and to UC Santa Cruz. George is a land developer and landowner with varied business interests ranging from publishing books, financing documentary movies and, as he says, “whatever catches my fancy." Gail is a family nurse practitioner who has worked at Planned Parenthood in downtown Santa Cruz for more than 35 years. They believe that Shakespeare Santa Cruz is an important part of the community they love.

    They actually started supporting the theater company in 1980, before its official founding, and over the years have made personal gifts and gifts through their businesses. Gail, who attended UC Santa Cruz and served as a Trustee for the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, served on the Shakespeare Santa Cruz Board of Directors for three years. “I joined the Board because of the fantastic people who were already serving, like Carolyn Hyatt, Anita Elliot and Toby Alexander. It was a great experience because of the people I worked with.”

    Their support for Shakespeare Santa Cruz has continued through 31 years and countless nights in the Mainstage Theater and the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen, under the redwoods and the stars. This year the Ows are the co-sponsors of Henry IV, Part Two. As George puts it, “Shakespeare Santa Cruz brings magic, beauty and inspiration to Santa Cruz. It is also an economic draw that brings people from all over the country here to spend their money in hotels,restaurants, and shops.”

    The Ows philanthropic support has extended beyond Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC, where they have also supported programs and projects in areas such as the sciences, multi-cultural arts and scholarships. They are well known for the philanthropic support they extend throughout the county. In recognition of their commitment to UCSC, the Ows have been named the 2012 Fiat Lux Award recipients, which will be awarded at the Founders Celebration Dinner, October 12th.

    “We are SO lucky to have it here,” said George, “Otherwise, I would have to travel to see Shakespeare plays and the experience would be completely different. We should keep the momentum going and make the company even stronger. Plus, the people involved are truly inspiring. Whenever I do anything involved with Shakespeare Santa Cruz, it makes my day.”


  • Audrey Stanley

    Audrey Stanley

    Audrey Stanley, whose very name is synonymous with UCSC's celebrated Shakespeare Santa Cruz festival, has given generously to the Arts on our campus since becoming a founding faculty member in 1969. The first woman to direct Shakespeare at the celebrated Oregon Ashland Festival, Stanley joined forces with Karen Sinsheimer (wife of the UCSC Chancellor at the time) to combine the best of Shakespeare scholarship with the best of performance, all in a unique and spectacular redwood setting near the campus theater. The gleam in Stanley's eye developed into discussions on both sides of the Atlantic, and finally in 1980 five Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) actors came to town to visit and perform. And with that felicitous event the dye was cast for the very first Shakespeare Santa Cruz season. With Stanley as founding Artistic Director the inaugural season featured A Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear, directed by Stanley and starring her RSC friend and compatriat Tony Church. Since that time Stanley has lent her own directorial talents, acting abilities, international network of world-class actors and made generous financial donations to support the innovative celebration of live dramatic performance.

    Believing that the arts are needed more than ever during times of national strife and economic downturns, this last year Stanley withdrew a large sum from her special life-savings to donate to the three endowments that support Shakespeare Santa Cruz, but she expanded her giving to include Arts Excellence so that all the Arts on campus are celebrated. The C.L. Barber Endowment supplies educational stipends to SSC students, actors, and scholars. The Stanley-Sinsheimer Festival Glen Endowment, named in her and Karen’s honor—will continue to realize the Bard's vision that "the play's the thing!" As well as the Visiting Artistic Directorship Endowment, which Stanley originally donated the seed funding for to help support the SSC Artistic Director’s salary and benefits. This endowment also provides strong ties with faculty and takes advantage of the unique interdisciplinary nature of UCSC.

    Stanley visits rehearsals, holds the title of Associate Artist, attends performances multiple times each season, encourages others to come, initiates and participates in many outreach events, and has been an active member of the SSC Board of Directors for many years. In addition to making annual financial contributions, Stanley looks to the future, and in 2011 Stanley, Karen Sinsheimer and Carolyn Hyatt made a gift to SSC that sparked an idea for a challenge match and later inspired the Chancellor to contribute funds as well.

    Now Professor Emerita of Theater Arts at UCSC, Stanley continues to be active in the life of the theater. Her 2005 play Call Me Vincent, about Van Gogh and Gauguin, won a finalist award from New Plays of Merit in New York. In June 2007, Ms. Stanley attended the 56-year reunion of the University of Bristol Dramatic Society Summer Touring Company, which she founded way back in 1951. During Winter Quarter 2010,she was honored by the Dixon Endowment and taught Acting with Shakespeare for the UCSC Theater Arts Department. She will be giving a workshop on the “Physicality of Shakespeare's Language” for the Shakespeare Association of America's Annual 2012 Meeting in Boston. Like the theater she founded, Stanley continues to contribute vibrantly to theater education, research, and practice.  When asked whether, in times of economic crisis, Shakespeare Santa Cruz should survive, Stanley says, “YES!!!! My conviction stems from my experience of being brought up in the UK while we were at war with Germany and Japan. I learnt or experienced an amazing lesson—which is when a country is really at its lowest ebb, it seeks out and cherishes the Arts. I was raised on seeing some of the most amazing theater in London. Actors of the brilliance of Alec Guinness, Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, Donald Wolfit, Sybil Thorndike, Edith Evans, Flora Robson, Peggy Ashcroft, to name just a few, brought Shakespeare’s plays to an audience hungry for uplift and hope and the excitement of a language that went deep into our hearts. It was the beauty and wonder of that experience that has stayed with me and sustained me in the darkest days of trying to make SSC the deepest and most challenging Shakespeare company in the world.”


  • Christina Garafola
    Photo credit: Jim MacKenzie

    Christina Garafola: A Crusader for Justice and Theatre

    Through her work and her philanthropy, Christina Garafola is committed to making a difference. An investigator with the Santa Cruz County Public Defenders Office, Christina helps in the defense of those who cannot afford an attorney. From interviewing witnesses to testifying in court, her work is crucial to making sure her clients’ rights are protected.

    As a Shakespeare Santa Cruz donor, Christina is committed to making sure SSC continues to be a vital part of the Santa Cruz community. “We keep our community strong culturally, educationally, and financially by maintaining the arts,” says Christina. “My first gift to SSC was inspired by how close our community came to losing the company. When I made my first contribution, I questioned whether my donation was enough to matter. But if everyone takes that attitude, nothing happens. When people come together, huge change is possible!”

    Christina first learned about SSC through her family. Both her parents are artists, and they instilled a love of the arts in her at a very young age. Her father encouraged her to attend SSC after Christina entered UC Santa Cruz, where she majored in psychology. But between adjusting to college, keeping up with her classes, and other activities, Christina didn’t attend SSC right away. “Every fall, I told myself, ‘It’s okay, I’ll make it next year.’ ” After hearing Artistic Director Marco Barricelli speak, Christina understood the difference her involvement would make. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

    Christina revels in the imagination and magic of theatre. One of her favorite SSC productions was Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself) with Dierk Torsek in the lead role. “The delicate way he led the audience down the path of his character’s unraveling was extraordinary,” said Christina. She found Kandis Chappell’s portrayal of Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter to be “perfection. You couldn’t help but feel her heartache as her relationship with her sons and her husband fell to pieces around her. I saw the show four times, and I cried each time.”

    Through her investment in SSC, Christina also feels she is honoring her family’s traditions in creating and valuing the arts. “It’s exciting to watch a stellar performance and know I helped make that happen,” says Christina. Experiencing theater lends balance to her life, helping her to “maintain a sense of wonder and imagination. Theater allows me a few fantastic hours of escape into another world, and helps keep my imagination alive!”

    Knowing that her support will help future generations experience SSC, Christina looks forward to every year’s productions. “To sit beneath the canopy of redwoods in the Glen, in those first few seconds when the music swells and the stage comes alive - what could be more magical than that?”

  • Hilgards

    1st row, L-R: cousins Madaline Ritter, Clayton Ritter, Adaline Roll, Turner Roll; 2nd row, L-R: sisters Julia Ritter, Galen Roll; Standing: parent/grandparents Galen & Henry Hilgard, son-in-law Gunnar Roll

    Henry & Galen Hilgard:


    The Family that Plays Together 

    Meet the Hilgards, three generations of art lovers who make Shakespeare Santa Cruz their summer playground. Grandparents Henry, a UC Santa Cruz Professor Emeritus of Biology and Galen, a biologist and artist, both “grew up surrounded by art in its many forms,” and have shared this passion with their family. Daughters Julia Ritter and Galen Roll (along with their sister Addie) were active in Santa Cruz middle and high school theater, music, and arts. The next generation, Turner and Adaline Roll and Madaline and Clayton Ritter, continue the tradition. Adaline, a dedicated audience member like her brother and cousins, is also an actor and was a rabbit and a field mouse in The Wind in the Willows (‘08), a co-production of the UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts Department and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

    Every summer the Hilgard clan, in various configurations, enjoy multiple performances. “Shakespeare Santa Cruz has been a joy to us in pulling together our young ones,” said Galen and Henry. What keeps them coming back are “the consistently excellent acting and the beautiful and unique natural setting of the outdoor theater in the Glen that makes for utterly spectacular and unique three-dimensional performances.” They appreciate repertory casting, seeing actors in two roles, “playing completely different characters - all in the time frame of a single festival summer."


    Topping off their Shakespeare Santa Cruz Experience, Galen and Henry are committed donors. “Our first gift reflected our own deepening interest in Shakespeare and honored our daughters (and their children) in their interest and participation in theater."  The Hilgard family also appreciates donor benefits, especially early notices about events and staff assistance with ticketing.

    “Shakespeare Santa Cruz is a vital part of Santa Cruz and is a great way for UCSC to give back to our community, and we like to encourage that,” said Henry and Galen.  “It is a superb professional company that has the appealing goals of clarifying Shakespeare and his plays, making them accessible, and making them great entertainment.”

  • David Kaun and Paul Whitworth

    David Kaun (left) and former Shakespeare Santa Cruz Artistic Director Paul Whitworth.

    Photo credit: Sandor Nagyszalanczy

    David Kaun:


    Doing Good Through Philanthropy

    You can read the story of David Kaun’s life through his philanthropy: his passion for music; his commitment to education, teaching, and students; and the sheer joy he takes in giving back. “It’s wonderful fun,” he said in describing his experiences as a donor. “I’ve helped some students, which is really a great pleasure. I’ve seen the value in all the support I’ve given.”

    In 2011, David made the lead gift for the Shakespeare Teen Access Tickets (STAT) program. STAT is designed to increase youth exposure to professional productions of Shakespeare's plays. Thanks to David’s idea and his generous gift, tickets to a Shakespeare Santa Cruz production are offered to participating groups free of charge.

    A devoted and generous donor to UC Santa Cruz since joining the economics faculty in 1966, David marvels at the synchronicities that shaped his life and influence his giving. As a nine-year-old in Cleveland, he went to a music store with his father and announced he wanted to learn the saxophone. “No you don’t,” said the clerk, “you want to play the clarinet.”

    “This tells you something about how good people have been a real influence in my life,” said David. “He was absolutely right.” Mastering the greater precision required for the clarinet meant David could easily learn the saxophone as well. Perhaps the clerk also intuited the young boy’s potential: David outgrew his first teacher in less than six months, studied with symphony clarinetists in Cleveland and Los Angeles, and put himself through college by leading his own dance band. “I never stopped playing the clarinet,” said David.

    His passion for music is a cornerstone of his philanthropy. David’s major gifts to UCSC include the David E. Kaun Music Scholarship Endowment, providing an annual merit-based scholarship to attract an outstanding student to the music program; a commitment of three years funding, for two merit scholarships per year, for the UCSC Resident String Ensemble; the Albert and Sara Kaun Chamber Music endowment at the University Library, honoring his parents and supporting purchases including CDs and music scores; composer sponsorships for the Shakespeare Santa Cruz Festival and Holiday Show; underwriting the classical music program for the Arts & Lectures series, sponsoring the local “Music in May” concert series, and much more.

    In recognition of his support for the arts, David was one of the 2010 recipients of the Gail Rich Award, which honors the artists and arts supporters of Santa Cruz County.  In response, he commented, "aside from the great pleasures I derive from my small family, this award was one of the nicest things that has ever come my way."

    David likes to say that “I’m an economist by profession, but a clarinetist by temperament,” and his considerable talent and commitment to music has led to some remarkable opportunities. He attended the first season of the UCSC Pacific Rim Music Festival and was so impressed he became a festival supporter. UCSC associate professor of music and festival artistic director Hi Kyung Kim surprised David by inviting him to perform the clarinet in a piece composed in his honor at the next festival.

    “It was phenomenal,” said David, describing the debut of “Duo 5-5-05,” which he performed with its composer, clarinetist John Sackett. David was thrilled to share the festival program with performers including the Kronos Quartet and also to see his economics students in the audience.

    A recipient of student support during his graduate work at Stanford University, David was inspired to endow a graduate student award after working with teaching assistants Garrett Milam and Matthew McGinty. “They were absolutely magnificent,” said David, “so I decided I would do something in their honor, to recognize them.” The Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award is given annually to two graduate students, one from the Economics Department and one from another Social Sciences department, who are outstanding teaching assistants.

    David’s work as an economist and teacher and his support of the arts mutually influence and inform each other. In fact, his commitment to the arts was reinforced by a serendipitous experience at a professional conference. Attendees were invited to see the play A Walk in the Woods, which is based on a true incident that occurred at the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Two negotiators, an American and a Russian, take a break from the bargaining table and, while finding an agreement elusive, do find their common humanity while taking a walk together. “We came out of that play tremendously moved,” said David, “I said to myself then, if there’s going to be any understanding in the world among people, it’s going to come through the arts and humanities.”

    David has brought the arts into his teaching through two economics classes: “Money and the Arts: Two All-Consuming Passions” and “Value and Support of the Arts: Challenges and Opportunities in American Society.” The latter featured guest lecturers from all aspects of arts production and funding, including the Turtle Island String Quartet, a classical string group. “The students got an hour of playing and talking with the quartet,” said David, “and it just blew their minds.”

    While preparing to teach another economics class, David came across “Wealth,” an article by Andrew Carnegie. It argues there are three basic actions individuals can take with surplus wealth: leave it to their families, and run the risk of “ruining” their children; leave it to the government, and be unable to control how it is used; or spend it and give it away during their lifetime, an action Carnegie called “the true antidote for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth.”

    “That made eminent sense to me,” said David. “I do believe that the only intelligent thing to do with your money is to spend it in the ways you want, and to do some good in the process.” For David Kaun, that includes his generous support of the arts, education, and students at UC Santa Cruz.

  • Kathy Kenan and Alan Daniel

    Kathy Kenan and Alan Daniel:


    Playgoers from Paradise

    How far would you go for great theatre? For Kathy Kenan and Alan Daniel, the answer is 2,500 miles. For six years these dedicated Shakespeare Santa Cruz supporters have made an annual, whirlwind trip from their home in Kalaheo, Hawaii on the island of Kauai, organizing their trip around seeing all the summer season plays.

    “It is the quality and originality of the Shakespeare Santa Cruz presentations, the beautiful sylvan setting, and the opportunity to share a loaf of bread and a jug of wine in the Glen with lots of interesting people that keeps us coming back,” said Alan. “Also, Shakespeare Santa Cruz gives us another excuse to partake of all the other great things Santa Cruz has to offer.”

    Alan and Kathy have also been Team Shakespeare donors for 17 consecutive years. They joke that they are donors out of “self-interest”. “We want to be able to continue enjoying Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and not have to travel any farther! There just aren’t that many cultural events the quality of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, so we want to ensure its continued existence.”

    When Kathy and Alan began attending and donating, they were Santa Cruz locals. “We first heard about the newly formed Shakespeare Santa Cruz in the early 1980s from Hal and Perky Hyde of Watsonville, who heartily recommended it,” said Alan. “After attending our first performance we were hooked.”

    So hooked, in fact, that they became long-distance supporters after Kathy retired from a 20-year career at Granite Construction in Watsonville, CA, and Alan became an H&R Block franchise owner in Hawaii.

    They have fond and strong memories of favorite past productions: “Titus Andronicus haunting the Glen at night with blood curdling screams and flickering shadows against the redwoods from the light of the blazing torches; and Paul Whitworth’s arachnid Richard III, spinning his web of deceit, are some of our truly memorable experiences,” they recalled.

    The Shakespeare comedies made a big impression on Kathy and Alan as well. “We loved the madcap Chautauqua-style Comedy of Errors with its opening-scene bicycle-built-for-five wildly careening down the hill; the “twins” frenetically changing glasses and windows; and the stately courtesan with the yellow dress and boa commanding the stage.” They also enjoy the Shakespeare Santa Cruz productions of modern playwrights and works by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

    “Shakespeare Santa Cruz offers thought-provoking world-class entertainment in a gorgeous setting – and (for most) it’s local,” said Kathy. “Take it from two who have to travel 2,500 miles to find it, it’s worth supporting!”

  • Jennifer Walker

    Jennifer Walker:


    It’s All in the Family – and the Community

    Jennifer Walker might be proof that theater appreciation can be inherited. “My mother, Julie Trahan, is responsible for my love of theatre,” says Jennifer. “My first recollection of Shakespeare Santa Cruz dates from 1989 when my mom took me to Romeo and Juliet. I was 19 years old. Sitting beneath the redwoods watching a play written 400 years ago with such relevant topics is mind blowing, a one-of-a-kind experience.”

    The family love of theater includes Jennifer’s sister, Jessica Bond. Jessica began attending Shakespeare Santa Cruz as a nine year old, received a UCSC Theater Arts degree, and now works for Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

    Raised in Santa Cruz County from the age of five, Jennifer has a 20-year career in real estate. In 2008 she became a local business owner, taking over Network Mortgage, whose motto is “Doing Well by Doing Good.” Jennifer knows that despite a challenging economy her business and Shakespeare Santa Cruz continue to thrive with community support. “I stepped up with my first donation to Shakespeare Santa Cruz in 2008 and became a performance sponsor in 2009.” She is committed to the community she describes as “so supportive of my career.”

    Jennifer believes that Shakespeare Santa Cruz helps make the community unique. “There is nothing like sitting in the Glen with a bottle of wine, a gourmet picnic and wonderful friends. I’ll continue to support Shakespeare Santa Cruz in whatever manner I’m able.”

Our 2013 Annual Fund Donors

Thank you! For the past 32 years, a remarkable group of smart and committed donors have stood behind Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

All that Shakespeare Santa Cruz achieved, from the best possible productions to exceptional education and internship opportunities, was possible thanks to donor support.

If you have any questions concerning giving to SSC, please contact Ann Gibb, or 831-459-5507.

UC Santa Cruz and Shakespeare Play On have signed a letter of intent and both entities are working hard to identify, address and finalize details relating to Shakespeare Play On's production of a 2014 season in the Sinsheimer-Stanley Glen.  For more information, e-mail or visit their website at