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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

Go and see the play ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ and have a good time…..we did!

Saturday night we saw the entertaining and funny play, ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox.

The two stars, Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles are marvelous as they assume several characters and take you on a wild adventure that includes frequent costume changes and clever uses of props and the sets. They will entertain you from start to finish. Kevin G. Coleman does a great directing job.

The play is welcoming entertainment on a cold, winter night.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Co. provides a terrific mix of Shakespearean drama and comedy, plays by other writers, and educational programs that extend beyond their home base in Lenox (I am going to be working at an upcoming school-audience presentation of their Hamlet in upstate New York). Some of their events are free, which is important to community access; in fact, one of their most moving is their now-annual July 4 reading on the lawn of the Declaration of Independence. I especially enjoy their secondary theater which puts the audience nearly onstage with the actors. The Mystery of Irma Vep, featuring the multitalents (including beautiful singing in falsetto) of Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles, was all the funnier because, even from so very up close, all those costume/character changes were brilliant. I must add that during the summer, it is lovely to see the casts and crew around town, at times rehearsing their lines as if in ordinary conversation; they live and breathe their art, they aren't just there for a gig. All in all, this company is a valuable community and cultural resource as well as a world-class training ground for actors of the future.

Review from Guidestar

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a freshman, my daughter participated for the first time in the Shakespeare Fall Festival run by Shakespeare & Co. at ten high schools in New York and Massachusetts. She only did costumes and she had a blast; she can't wait to audition for a part next year. To see so many teenagers not only understanding Shakespeare but absolutely excited about his work was amazing. Ten high schools doing ten different plays over four days, and she wanted to see them all. It was also a great counterpoint to her sports, which are so competitive, because Shakespeare & Co. really teaches the kids how to cheer each other on and have fun putting on a great show together. What an incredible job this organization does, they should be at every high school!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Year after year S&Co;has produced not only Shakepearean plays, but a wide variety of great adaptations from short stories, traditional plays and new productions. They may take on too much at times, but there's never a dull moment.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company runs the highly ambitious yet successful Fall Festival of Shakespeare, which affords students from ten schools or more in the states of Massachusetts and New York the opportunity to work with professional directors, designers, and technicians in staging ninety-minute versions of Shakespeare's plays, which are then performed in each school and again at Founders' Theatre in Lenox, MA in a rollicking, supportive, non-contesting atmosphere. The students absolutely love the Festival, which is a life-changing experience for most of them. They make friendships, gain confidence, and develop a strong affection for Shakespeare and live theatre. There is no other project like this in the country. Our school, Springfield Central High School, is probably the most urban school of all those in the Festival, therefore relecting more diversity, and our students always feel valued and indeed embraced by the students from the other school, many of them from the Berkshires. We have taken part in the Festival for eighteen years, and as soon as we finish, the students are clamoring to know what play we are planning to do next year. On the Monday after the Festival, we gather in our theatre for "closure," in which the students sit in a circle on stage and each one has the chance to say what the experience meant to him or her. Every year, students speak from the heart, many becoming emotional, especially the seniors, for whom the experience is finished. They tell us how much the Festival means to them, and how they wait all year for the Fall because they look forward to it so much. Many of our students go on to be involved in theatre in college, and this certainly would not be the case if they hadn't had the opportunity to be part of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare.