KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - Founder of the longtime Texas Shakespeare Festival has announced his plans to retire in 2020.
Raymond Caldwell founded the festival in 1986, and wrote in a public Facebook message that he plans to retire on his 78th birthday in 2020:
The 2020 summer season of the Texas Shakespeare Festival will be my final one. I will retire on my 78th birthday on August 31, 2020 just after I complete 35 years with TSF, which I founded in 1986.
It has been a wonderful and gratifying experience, and I have been so fortunate to make a living doing something I enjoy. Next year will mark 55 years in educational theater (including the past 12 years of doing only the Festival), so of course, I will have some major adjustments to make. I want to send my love and gratitude to every single student I ever taught, to each teacher and professor I ever worked with or learned from, and all the many hundreds of talented artists with whom I have made theater at the Festival.
Thank you, also, to members of the TSF Foundation Board and to all Guild officers and members without whose hard work and loyal support TSF would never have survived. More than any of these, I express my love, gratitude, and admiration to John Dodd, the most hard-working, devoted, selfless, and dependable person I will ever know. How lucky I have been to have him to work with every day. Most of all, I acknowledge my wife Anna for 51 years of marriage and patience and encouragement and sacrifice. Words cannot say what is in my heart.
The future of the Festival has always been one year at a time since it has a very small endowment, so for my birthday THIS year as well as NEXT YEAR (on August 31), I humbly ask that if you are able you will consider making a donation if ANY amount anytime between now and August 31, 2020 to the Texas Shakespeare Festival, either online at our website or by sending a check to TSF, P.O. Box 2788, Kilgore, TX 75663. If you will designate your contribution as “For TSF Future,” I will certainly send you a heartfelt thank-you note either handwritten or through social media! (All contributions are tax deductible, so why don’t you also join the Guild?)Life goes on. Memories grow more precious. We focus on today and tomorrow, right up the final curtain. Theater may not be a religion, but is certainly a spiritual form of worship. Amen.