CTC reflects on 2015 season, announces two 2016 productions

The Bratton Theater stage has seen a lot this summer. From being transformed into an arena stage, to a five-roomed corset, a fancy hotel room, an alternate world for ghosts and a battleground for the English and French, the stage has gone through a massive metamorphosis. Last Thursday, all these elements took stage for the last time for the final Brown Bag of the season.

Chautauqua Theater Company announced the coming season and held a live auction, with the highest bid of $800 on this season’s poster bundle. Other auctioned items included tickets to the Bratton Late Night Cabaret, the Intimate Apparel quilt with a set of tickets to the Cabaret, and, a chance to sit in “The Box” — technical booth and backstage — during a 2016 CTC production.

Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch and Associate Artistic Director Andrew Borba reflected back on the season that was 2015. The two, with Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, have spent some quality time this season figuring out the coming seasons.

“We have been spending a lot of time in a strategic planning process and talking about who we are and where we are going,” Benesch said.

The 2015 season was, as Benesch put, “a dynamic and varied season of programming that mirrored the makeup of the company.”

It also was the beginning of two new programs in the company: the Young Playwrights Project, a pre-season event the week before the season began, and Residency 9, marking the end of the season this week.

“This season, we began to consciously focus on what is CTC’s and the Institution’s overall mission, which is having relevant conversations,” Benesch said.

Statistically speaking, Intimate Apparel landed at 93 percent paid capacity. The New Playwright Workshops, The Engine Of Our Ruin and Afterlove, came in at 94 percent and 90 percent, respectively.

Associate Director of Programming for Chautauqua Institution Deborah Sunya Moore announced one of CTC’s 2016 plays: In the Next Room (or “the Vibrator Play”) by playwright Sarah Ruhl. Moore announced Ruhl’s play by pulling the announcement from Intimate Apparel’s quilt.

To make the second announcement, the annual Shakespeare play, Benesch drew a play from a skull, a la Hamlet, to reveal The Taming of the Shrew.

“2015 has seeded fertile ground in which we hope to grow even deeper roots, … reaching higher branches of excellence,” Benesch said.