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February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

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.

The Great!

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

attending as both a ticket buyer and as a volunteer. I have also taken one of their backstage/costume dept. tours, which is not to be missed.

Ways to make it better...

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

have more early-afternoon or even morning matinees.

February 27, 2010

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February 27, 2010

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!

The Great!

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

watching my daughter, not a big reader, learn to love Shakespeare.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 27, 2010

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February 27, 2010

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.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It's like a family. Each year when I return to volunteer again it's a reunion.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 27, 2010

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February 27, 2010

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.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing my students blossom during the rehearsals and performances of our plays.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

professional, enthusiastic, friendly, hard-working, dedicated, willing, supportive, and crazy about Shakespeare.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

finish building the Rose Theatre, which would become a mecca for students and theatre-goers, who could experience what Shakepeare's audiences did by attending plays in a period-authentic setting.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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