Northern California’s loss is Colorado’s gain as it was announced earlier this week that Philip Charles Sneed has been appointed the new producing artistic director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Sneed guided the Foothill Theatre Company of Nevada City for 12 years during a period of remarkable growth before being terminated by the board 18 months ago. He is a wonderful actor; smart, sensitive director, and level-headed administrator - making him an ideal artistic director.
The CSF presents four shows in repertory each summer - two indoors and two in the Mary Rippon amphitheater. According to the Denver Post, which wrote about Sneed’s appointment, CSF attendance last year was 28,226 - down nearly 14,000 from the year 2000; furthermore, its annual operating budget had dropped to $896,000, about $100,000 less than the last budget Sneed managed for FTC.
Sneed wrote in an e-mail: “CSF is the nation’s second-oldest Shakespeare festival, and I will have the privilege of planning the company’s 50th-anniversary season, to be held in the summer of 2007.”
The loss is double for us because, not only will Sneed be leaving, but his wife, the highly regarded costume designer Clare Henkel, also will be heading off to Colorado.
“Although we will miss Nevada City and our many friends here, we are happy to be starting this new chapter in our lives and in our careers,” Sneed wrote.
Still, it will be something of a long good-bye, as Sneed will be back next month to direct “To Kill A Mockingbird” at the Sacramento Theatre Company; he'll also be directing its holiday production of “A Christmas Carol.”
In my dealings with Sneed, I found him to be thoughtful, articulate, passionate and consummately professional. He will be missed.