Babson College and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company announced Thursday that they are ending their six-year partnership, effective January 2020. CSC, which just opened “Cymbeline,” its annual offering of free Shakespeare on the Boston Common, had been serving as the theater-in-residence at Babson’s Sorenson Center for the Arts.
“We are enormously proud of our partnership with Babson College, where we produced award-winning plays and provided access to the arts for thousands of high school students on the college campus in Wellesley,” CSC artistic director Steve Maler said. “We are also grateful for the opportunity to build work off the Common and explore more intimate plays, like ‘Birdy’ and Beckett’s ‘Happy Days.’ ”
CSC began its relationship with Babson when former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey took over as president of the college in 2013. Healey had announced in 2018 her plans to step down at the end of this academic year, and Stephen Spinelli was named her successor as of July 1.
In a statement, Spinelli thanked CSC “for a successful partnership which attracted well-known national artists and productions and extended Babson’s historical commitment to the arts.”
Healey’s vision, said Maler, emphasized the similarities between the creative process in the arts and the entrepreneurial process in business.
In addition to producing free Shakespeare on the Common for the past 24 years, CSC leveraged its own entrepreneurial experience by producing “Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit,” an immersive approach that uses virtual reality to bring audiences into Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. That film was produced in partnership with Google and WGBH.
“Education has always been an important aspect of our mission, and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide value for Babson students and for the relationships we developed with the Babson faculty,” Maler said.
Although the partnership will end in January, Babson has agreed to continue as a sponsor of next summer’s 25th anniversary production on the Common, which Maler announced will be “The Tempest.”
“We remain passionate about our commitment to artistic excellence and access for all,” Maler said, “and look forward to continuing to ensure we can sustain free Shakespeare on the Common, an important Boston icon.”