Shakespeare & Company, Inc.

Rating: 4.94 stars   391 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 70 Kemble Street Lenox MA 01240 USA

Mission: Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company aspires to create a theatre of unprecedented excellence rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony; a company that performs as the Elizabethans did -- in love with poetry, physical prowess and the mysteries of the universe. With a core of over 150 artists, the company performs Shakespeare, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors and designers of all races, nationalities and backgrounds. S&Co provides original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods. S&Co also develops and produces new plays of social and political significance. Shakespeare & Company's education programs inspire a new generation of students and scholars to discover the resonance of Shakespeare's truths in the everyday world, demonstrating the influence that classical theatre can have within a community.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 04-2666826
413-637-1199
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have participated in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare for the past four years and it is literally the best time of my year. The environment in everyday rehersal as well as the actual four day festival in Lenox is so welcoming and friendly. Everyone I've met through it is somehow an amazingh person. I don't know of many other places you can find that.

Not only are the student there awesome, though; the people who work there exceed expectations by miles. Working with many of them through Fall Festival and Shakespeare and Young Company, I continue to be amazed. They are all so talented as actors and mentors. They know exactly how to bring out the best in all of their students so they not only produce great plays, but grow as actors as well.

Every play I've seen there as well has been impecable. Whether is Shakespeare or not, the actors, directors and designers all give 110%. I've never been to S&Co and not enjoyed my time.

Shakespeare and Company has changed my outlook on Shakespeare and on acting. It's the most amazing place on Earth.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My life. I spend as much time as possible there because I think it makes me a better person. Through its mentoring, I've become a more outgoing person and a serious actor.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not change anything. Its amazing how it is.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The training at Shakespeare & Co. changed my life, both personally and professionally, in a profound way. I became a better actor and, frankly, a better human being for having spent a month in an environment of such intense warmth, inclusiveness, creativity, challenge, support, and inquiry. On a daily--if not hourly or more frequent basis--we not only increased our technical prowess, but we asked questions about the bigger issues of art. What does it mean to be human? How do we tell stories that move, excite, inspire our fellow humans? Many theatres can produce fine actors from their training programs, but this is the only one I've encountered that produces not only better artists, but better members of society.

As an audience member, I can say that this is some of the finest, most technically clear, and most heartfelt and sincere work I've ever seen on stage and I am privileged to have witnessed it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My personal and professional life. Training at Shake & Co. has opened doors from me and made me a better actor, teacher, text coach, dramaturg, director, and member of the human race.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

think of something if I could.

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I first became aware of S&Co many years ago when I was Chairman of the DeSisto School in Stockbridge MA, a school for troubled teens. S&Co provided a unforgettable experience for the students, many of whom had never seen a play or acted or participated in any of the myriad opportunities a theatre company provides.The relationship went on for many years. As a result of the interaction of the Desisto School and S&Co, the school initiated a performing arts program, giving these troubled teens a wonderful expressive outle. tAs an attendee I have always been impressed with the calibre of the perfomers and performances. S&Co provides a very needed place in the Berkshire community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above re: DeSisto School

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to get more endowed funds

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been lucky to have been able to attend Shakespeare & Company performances since before they moved from The Mount. I gladly donate each year as well. It is one of the highlights of my summer, and now fall and winter as well, to visit S&Co. for one of their fantastic performances. Their talent, professionalism, dedication and also humor show through in everything they do. For the best in art and culture, it is not to be missed!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

attending their theatrical performances, touring backstage and donating

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

maybe give the public a chance to request the season

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As a teacher and Drama instructor at one of the high schools that takes part in The Fall Festival of Shakespeare, I can vouch for the enormous benefit of this program to our students. Over the nineteen years I have been involved, I have seen countless numbers of students get so excited about being in a Shakepeare play that they can't wait for school to begin in the fall because it means auditions and rehearsal for the Fall Festival will soon be starting. Many of our students take part in the Festival as they are older students because they have heard so much about it, but many others start as freshmen, some as actors and some as technical crew, and grow into larger character or technical roles as they mature and gain confidence. The day after the Festival finishes, when we have our final meeting at school, called closure, the students express very emotionally what being involved in the Festival has meant to them. It is a day filled with tears, but of the best kind, because the tears acknowledge just how pleased they are to have had this experience, and how much they will miss this very special magical feeling of being on stage with a completely appreciative audience and castmates who have rehearsed together to the point of virtuosity. This program has become the most important part of the performing arts calendar at Springfield Central High School, and is a large part of what helped our school identify itself as a magnet school for the Arts.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the effect being part of the Festival has on our Drama students and all of the students for the rest of the year. For many students, this defines them as high school students, giving them a peer group to eat lunch with in the cafeteria. I have also done considerable training with Shakespeare & Company myself, such as the month-long Institute in which I participated in 2002

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them more money so they could continue to do what they do and be able to build the Rose Theatre on the grounds of the property, a project which is currently stalled by lack of funds.

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Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Shakespeare and Company is a tremendous asset not only to the local community, but their affect reaches across the nation. Not only does the company offer a superb collection of artists doing really powerful performance work on the stage, but their professional training programs are truly top-notch, and their education programs have made significant impact in the intellectual and emotional growth of many youngsters. I had the tremendous good fortune of growing up with the in-schools education programs offered by Shakespeare and Company, which provided the foundation for a life practice of working collaboratively, with honesty and integrity. I have since founded a theatre company dedicated to site-specific interactive performances, in some ways quite different from traditional stage work, but the core elements of emotional truth and clarity of thought and speech in performance, that I first experienced at S&Co, is at the heart of my approach. I put the full strength of my voice behind supporting this company.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

please see the extended response in the first field.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

please see the extended response in the first field.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been privileged to be a volunteer for many years at Shakespeare & Co. and have been amazed at the dedication of the staff regarding community outreach, youth education programs, and an overall commitment to excellence. I believe that this is one of the finest cultural organizations in our region.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

changing student's lives through their experiences with the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, which promotes and encourages personal growth and also teamwork and cooperation.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to solicit more involvement from the younger generation, in the form of internships, apprenticeships and volunteer activity.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As a teacher at Upper Cape Tech over the 2007/08 and the 2008/09 school years I was introduced to Shakespeare and Company and attended a summer week long teacher training. The teacher training is aplicable and easy to use in a lesson plan, which is grounded in a student centered-format. The training helped me regain my love of Shakespeare and it prepared my colleagues and me to go back into our classrooms with a renewed confidence.
The practicality of the summer teacher training which takes place at the Shakespeare and Company campus in Lenox, is also the cost (which is very reasonable) and the time committment. It seems that Shakespeare and Company has really tried to make itself available to school districts that are always trying to stretch their professional development budgets, and they offer this training when most teachers can make the time committment. Bravo to all the Shakespeare and Company employees and donors who make this experience possible!

I can tell you as a classroom teacher who has taught the struggling student, and the less confident student, that all students can be reached by using the methods that have been developed by the Shakespeare and Company teacher trainers. I am now an ELA instructional leader for an urban school district in Rhode Island, and as Rhode Island's new State Standards will be the Common Core, (which are based on Massachusett's State Standards), the Shakespeare and Company teacher training, is something I will direct my teachers to. The end result is having an engaged classroom of students confident in their ability to experience and understand the language of Shakespeare.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it part of a credit system so that teachers can opt to recieve masters degree credit, through New England Colleges. (Maybe they are already doing this).

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

We appreciate Shakespear & Company on multiple levels. For many years we have attended performances. We have never been disappointed....the caliber of the actors--including the actors in training/students, the quality of the material, is truly inspiring. Conversations with students confirm our impression of the life-changing experience time spent with S&Co is for them. Indeed, we value S&Co so much it was a key reason for our deciding to retire to the area.

Over the years we have read with amazement the extensive outreach during the year, the number of students exposed to great works and the impact such exposure must have on them. We have attended numerous performances at which children of all ages have been in the audience. In an age increasingly online, to have children experience live theater, up close and personal, REAL, must stand out as unusual, if not unique, special, and not only thought-provoking, but fun!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above -- witnessing children in the audience and speaking with students/actors in training.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand its capacity to reach an even larger audience and impact more children.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Having a son participate as a young actor in Shakespeare and Company,
he was mentored, educated and treated with great kindness by all at this
wonderful complex. He was challenged as an actor and grew as he
became involved in the touring company and took on the responsibility as a director for the high school Fall Festival. How wonderful to see so
many young people excited about Shakespeare!! This is a great place and should continue for years to come.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Through the growth in my son

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage physical plant assistance with historic buildings

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Review from Guidestar