Shakespeare Society of America

1968-2020

In 1965 Members of The Shakespeare Society were dedicated to Instruct and Advance the Works of William Shakespeare.On May 15th 1968 the State of California approved the Shakespeare Society of America (SSA) as a Public Benefit Corporation.On May 9th 1969 the Internal Revenue Service recognized SSA as an IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable Educational Organization.

Henley Street: Shakespeare's Birth Place

Henley Street: Shakespeare’s Birth Place

Mayor Sam Yorty of the City of Los Angeles Proclaims Shakespeare Society of America Week in 1968

SSA Tudor Style Mansion at 1131 Alta Loma Road – center.

SSA Tudor Mansion Back Porch Merry Wives – Circa 1970

The Mansion above with Mel’s Diner (triangular roof-top circled smaller above) on the Sunset Strip, in west Los Angeles served as SSA Headquarters from 1965 to 1972 with Art Gallery, Library, Museum; Indoor Program and Outdoor Performance Space.

Co-Founders R. Thad Taylor and John ‘Jay’ Uhley were Licensed Electrical Contractors on the Sunset Strip at Bob Taylor Electric, serving large industrial, restaurant, hotel and residential clients. Thad had been a Shakespeare Enthusiast since the 1940s and the Mansion was the ideal facility to draw stakeholders together, launching The Shakespeare Society as an Association in 1965. A wide variety of literary, dramatic, artistic, musical and cultural public benefit programs were offered before the Shakespeare Society of America became a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation in 1968.

Resident Artist painting the south face of the SSA HQ Mansion in November 1966. Anyone know this artist?

SSA proposed the 20-acre property be a full feature Shakespearian Center

SSA attempted a Cultural Crusade to buy the land and build the Center before the scheduled demolition of the Mansion.

Unable to raise funds Thad and Jay witnessed the end of the SSA Mansion, and by 1972 began searching for a new location.

Late 1972 SSA @ 1107 North Kings Rd. in west Los Angeles. This pic from 1984 shows Shakespeare with Olympic Torch.

1107 North Kings Road in west Los Angeles was Incorporated into the City of West Hollywood in 1984. The 8 foot sculpture of Shakespeare holding an Olympic Torch was commissioned, dedicated and erected at the Globe Playhouse in 1984.

Good Knight Shakespeare written by R. Thad Taylor shows Queen Elizabeth I, Knighting Shakespeare.

R. Thad Taylor invited Queen Elizabeth II to Knight Shakespeare. Her office replied to say only living people are Knighted. Mr. Taylor then wrote the stage play Good Knight Shakespeare showing Queen Elizabeth I, Knighting Shakespeare on the SSA Globe Stage.

1972 — 2006

SSA Co-Founders R. Thad Taylor and John ‘Jay’ Uhley designed, built and operated of the Globe Theatre at 1107 North Kings Road in west Los Angeles (became City of West Hollywood 1984). This authentic half-size replica of William Shakespeare’s venue, assembled inside the Globe Playhouse was a landmark for Southern California entertainers and theatre enthusiasts, and was a travel destination of Shakespeareans from around the world.

Public Benefit activities included hosting and promotion of: Shakespeare Theatre Productions; New and Classic Period Theatre Productions; Shakespeare Scholars, Students and Festivities; and Southern California Area school field trips.

SSA was a founding member organization of: World Shakespeare Congress; Shakespeare Association of America; Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable; Hamlet Society International; and International Shakespeare Association. Mr. Taylor contributed to a variety of Shakespeare Film, TV Productions, Documentaries, Lectures and Panel Discussions.

Former SSA Members from over 30 countries include: President Richard Nixon, Governor Ronald Reagan, U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen, LA Mayor Sam Yorty, Lord Laurence Olivier, Sir Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Hope.

2006 — 2008

SSA provided Public Programs to over 500,000 people by late 2006 when R. Thad Taylor, Founding President passed away triggering extraordinary events forcing the non-profit to Relocate, Reorganize and Rebrand in the digital age without a stage!

SSA Administrators packed and preserved vast non-profit assets consisting of a rare book and reference collection (3,000 + items); museum and memorabilia collection (1,000 + items); visual art collection (1,000 + items); and theatre arts archive (10,000 + items) consisting of playbills, posters, reviews, photos, slides and props. These assets are collectively known as the “SSA Collection”.

By September 2008 the SSA Relocated to Moss Landing, California at the heart in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in a facility called the New Shakespeare Sanctuary.

2008 — 2022

Since 2008 SSA has hosted well over 25,000 visitors, from 150 countries and territories at the New Shakespeare Sanctuary.

The most common word visitors use is … WOW!