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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Performing Arts, Theater

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.

Programs: Performance - fy15 consisted of 9 productions across 2 indoor and 2 outdoor stages on a 33-acre campus in the berkshire hills of ma; over 38,000 attendees participating in 263 public performances: 4 shakespeare plays, 4 contemporary plays, 1 original dance presentation; in addition, 26 opportunities for in-depth discussions and/or behind the scenes tours for interested members of the community. Rooted in shakespeare's work and elizabethan ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony, and committed to nurturing creative impulses, exploring themes of human experience, and influencing future generations, productions demonstrate a commitment to language, classical ideals, physical prowess, and a contemporary voice.

education - fy15 consisted of flagship, nationally-recognized program "fall festival of shakespeare" involving nearly 500 students from 10 different high schools in ny and ma, each exploring a shakespeare play and presenting it to each other and their communities; 16 adolescent offenders in need of support participating in an effective and action-oriented 6-week courts' program as alternate to traditional sentencing (i. E. , "sentenced to shakespeare"), which has been celebrated at a white house ceremony and honored as an outstanding community arts program with a gold star award from the massachusetts cultural council; new england tour of shakespeare furthers classical literacy in 75 communities' schools from new jersey to maine with performances and smaller-scale student workshops, all a part of the national endowment for the arts' "shakespeare in american communities"; 6 elementary or middle school residencies, with multi-week in-depth explorations of events and themes in shakespeare culminating in performances for the communities from long island to the berkshires; 7 "riotous youth" programs designed to introduce young actors (7-15 yr. Olds) to shakespeare's heightened language, imaginative stories and extreme situations through creative and collaborative activities; 3 "young company" programs of deeper training for 16-20 year-olds, including paid public performances; 2 week-long professional development programs catering to up to 25 high school teachers of shakespeare exploring and redefining a student's experience of shakespeare while inspiring deeper appreciation, wonder and delight.

training - fy15 consisted of rigorous programs in voice, text, clown, stage fight, rhetoric and movement are offered to theatre professionals in new england and throughout the united states: month-long residential actor training workshop for up to 60 participants; 5-week-long residential summer training institute for up to 40 college-aged actors; several week-long and up to a dozen weekend intensive studies offered around the country.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Shake & Co for years now in conjunction with the work they do with students. Shakespeare & Co. takes everyone, all students are welcome and everyone participates. I have seen quiet, unprepossessing students, who would normally go unnoticed and perhaps fall through the cracks, gain confidence and shine. They develop lifelong friends that help them stand up to bullies.
Shakespeare and co have had a significance impact on hundreds of students' lives.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The place has an energy which is palpable; just being there I found myself considering myself more of an artist then ever before. They've got something good going that is infused in everything they do, I think.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started attending Shakespeare & Co. productions in 1988 when I lived 4 hours away from Lenox, MA. I haven't missed a season since then. Now that I live in neighboring lee, I try to see every production that they offer, sometimes as an usher and sometimes as a paying patron. If Shakespeare & Co. is doing a show, it's a safe bet that it will be excellent. The company chooses works botgh old and new that are some of the best of theater. They are innovative and the acting is invariably wonderful. I have been introduced to new works by writers previously unknown to me and borh new and traditional productions of plays by William Shakespeare. I attend a lot of theater, but none more versatile and none with better casts that those produced by Shakespeare & Co.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Each year Shakespeare and Co. comes to my school and allows students to participate in their Fall Festival program. Most students, at first find it daunting, like myself- the prospect of performing Shakespeare is very intimidating. Once cast, and rehearsals began however, I soon realized the magic that this company has to offer the youth. It allows us to explore not only our strengths but our weaknesses and build upon both. We, as young adults and human beings are able to admit to our weaknesses and not necessarily "fix" them but rather improve upon them, work at them- that is what makes a strong human being. Someone who works hard for a cause, and Shakespeare and Company allows and enforces that in every single one of their cast members, even down to their techies.
My school did King Lear this year and the rehearsal process was extremely tough. We all knew this show was going to be a challenge from Stage 1 and we, including the directors, were ready to take it on. After some ups and downs during rehearsals we finally got to a place where we were steadily going up in the quality of our show. Two weeks before our show we had set, costumes, and lighting down and we were allowing people to come watch from the school community if they so desired. One girls' boyfriend who has the reputation of skipping class/school, not doing work, and messing up his life watched one rehearsal approached our directors and asked to be in it and in a heartbeat they were like "YES YES! We would LOVE for you to be a part of it!" Remember, this is TWO WEEKS before we went up. The night of our festival performance he told everyone in the cast that he is ready to make a change in his life. He quit smoking, cutting class, and he started doing his homework and reading books. This is a direct quote "I would never had made this change so late in my high school career if it hadn't been for Shakespeare. I wish i knew how cool this was when i was a freshman so I could get more people involved!"
Shakespeare and Company touches the souls of so many people, parents, students, teachers, the elderly etc. and it it truly amazing to see the growth and development of my peers during our involvement with this truly brilliant and inspiring company.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5


I attended my first S&Co production about 30 years ago and was struck by the creativity and joy that pervaded a glorious production of "Midsummer's Night Dream" that romped through the woods at The Mount.

The creativity, joy and great productions, I am delighted to say, continue in the wonderful new theatres on Kemble St.

Moreover, as a former teacher of high school Speech and English, I recognize the superior quality of the educational and personal growth experience students engaged in the Fall Festival and Riotous Youth receive.

Review from Guidestar

Carol H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter began participating in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare for the past two years. This program is invaluable to the students, parents, teachers involved in the program. every year 10 schools are involved. our school has 53 or more students participating. in our school that is 10% involvement; more than any single sports team. 10 of Shakespeare's plays are performed every year. school alternate their performances. a comedy one year, a tragedy or history the next. My daughter, who was shy and just wanted to be in the background began to come "out of her shell". She began to want to do speaking parts and to take on leadership roles in her school. Because of this program and it's immersion into shakespeare's writing and language she performed very well on her state exams which involved writing an essay comparing shakespeares Hamlet to another story.
Students who normally might not be in the same peer groups, for the duration of this program, are working together for 9 to 10 weeks to produce a play with the guidance of Shakespeare and Company, actors/ directors.
As a parent I am involved in costumes, transportation of students to the "tech days" at Shakespeare and Co. and chaperoning the cast to common classes during the weeks leading up to school and Fall Festival performances. I only wish that I had this wonderful program when I was in high school. Like another parent and friend said when we were introducing "new" parents to this program. "I wish I could be them!"

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came across Shakespeare and Company in high school through the Fall Festival of Shakespeare program. When I finally mustered up the courage to tryout I was in my senior year. I really repent that it took me so long to participate because even though it was my last eligible year in the program, I had the time of my life. Thank you to everyone who helped make my play experience what it was for me

Review from Guidestar

Dawn K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a parent of two children involved in Shakespeare and Company, I have only wonderful things to say. One of my children has Aspergers Disorder, and was welcomed with open arms by both the students and staff. He was able to spread his wings and be creative and feel happy in an otherwise sad day. All children and adults alike should be honored to have this program in their community!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Fall Festival has changed my life. I have gained so much experience from it that I never would have gotten otherwise. I have learned much about theatre and have even decided that I want to major in theatre in college. Without Shakespeare and Company's education programs, I would never have gained this much perspective on things like human language and how actions speak louder than words. I have gained many skills through Jon Croy's teaching that help me not only on stage, but in real life as well. Acting in general teaches you so much about yourself and others, but the Shakespeare and Company programs offer these teaching to such a great extent, it would be a terrible loss not to have that kind of experience and talent in our area. I would not be who I am today if it was not for Fall Festival and the Company itself. I love the people and the atmosphere they provide.
"Make mad the guilty, and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears." -Hamlet

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Eleven years ago I became a volunteer at Shakespeare & Company; one of the best decisions I made in the use of my volunteer time. The members of this company are warm, friendly, outgoing. The permanent staff is so dedicated, working so many hours for a moderate salary. Many of the staff are also actors as this company follows the Elizabethan tradition in many ways, one of which is the actors not only perform but manage the company, too. If you have never seen a play performed here, and enjoy theatre, then you must see productions here. Not only are Shakespearan plays performed but also new plays or plays with a social message. Presently is The Mystery of Irma Vep. It is hilarious, the costume changes in themselves are worth seeing this show. I will never forget The Dreamer Examines the Pillow with JOhn Douglas Thompson in the summer of 2009. It was outstanding. The Berkshires is so fortunate to have this exceptional theatre located here.

Review from Guidestar