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  • Writer's pictureKevin Shinnick


What a difference a month can bring .

We were all set, lined up with a person willing to underwrite our project and who was even talking about our future season (two shows planned with a third to follow); even telling us he was getting us other companies to invest in the theatre !

What euphoria. TDF was contacted for costumes, a beautiful theatre space was explored and decided upon for rehearsals as well as a magnificent new theatre. The rights were negotiated.

People were contacted to work tech. Actors Equity Association was helpful in getting all our ducks in a row. The producer even emailed Fractured Atlas that he would assume all expenses. What every creative person dreams.

The the nightmare began.

First , our producer got sick . We waited . We sent emails. The theatre sent emails. Finally, the phrase I expected but dreaded arrived via text , which said hat our producer was stepping back from the group.

Emails and phone calls followed. People were alerted of the delay. TDF, the theatre, the rights holders , Fractured Atlas ,and AEA all were told of the surprise. Most were very understanding and sympathetic . Many said they looked forward to hearing from us when we got the production off the ground.

Which is were we found ourselves. Grounded. We were back to NEARLY the beginning. Nearly, except that we had ordered some costume , set pieces , and props . People that we had spoken to were still interested.

That is very reassuring in such a depressing moment. We would have been beginning our run at this point in time (May 2023), had the auditions and rehearsals gone on as planned. Now , it is back to the tin cup and asking for donations, the part that is a necessity though one which makes you feel like Oliver asking for more .

This production has had a long gestation period , interrupted as much of the world was by the COVID epidemic. Other hiccups and road blocks, with the current one (the case of the vanished producer) being the biggest disappointments.

Then I think of the tale of Robert The Bruce & the Spider. Robert I was forced to hide in a cave after his Army was routed by the English .It's claimed that Robert the Bruce hid out here, dejected, after his disastrous first year as King of Scots. Legend tells us that, while waiting out the winter of 1306, he watched a spider on the cave wall try time & again to spin its web. Every time the spider fell, it rose to begin again. Robert the Bruce took inspiration from the spider and resolved to continue his campaign against the English, ending in the Scots victory at Bannockburn.

Doing a play about royalty, it is a nice inspiration to keep trying.

Also, while feeling quite foolish trusting before the promised funds were made available, I can take some comfort knowing that even Broadway Producers have experienced disappearing or even imaginary investors. Shows like TITANIC THE MUSICAL , REBECCA , and the recent cancelled production of THE ROOM shows it happens on all levels. It doesn't make it easier, but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Back to my begging bowl & I hope that people will consider donating so we may finally get our

interpretation of THE LION IN WINTER by James Goldman off the ground.


We are reevaluating our production and looking into other theatre spaces . We will keep you updated as to what is happening, when we reach certain goals ,and when we finally achieve all our budget in the bank .

Thank you to everyone who keeps the artistic faith.

Kevin G Shinnick


The Lion In Winter

The Ensemble Theatre Company of New York

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