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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

128 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Words cannot express my appreciation for all Shakespeare & Company does for this community and my family, and I'm a writer by trade! My daughter has been involved in Shakespeare & Company's education program since she was in 7th grade. Last year she was given the honor of having a role in S&Co's production of Richard III. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life and has helped her make her decision to pursue acting as a career as she leaves for college. Our lives were made richer by this experience, and we were exposed to more Shakespeare than anyone could dream of. We are so lucky to have this amazing company in our area. I tell everyone to encourage their children to be part of the education program and I just signed up to volunteer for next season. The productions are outstanding, the professionalism immense and the quality of instruction, stellar! I cannot say enough about this company.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Been there 5 times for the classic Shakespeare plays - awesome experience and great actors! We need it to continue!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Training at this company last summer in the Summer Young Company, Interning, performing, and watching many of the shows night after night has brought me invaluable knowledge and experience about the world of theatre, as well as very strong and personal love for the works of Shakespeare and storytelling. The Company is so united in working as an ensemble of creative artists, each with different skill sets, but all working cohesively to create great theatre and a wonderful atmosphere to work, learn, and play.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The training I received at the Shakespeare & Co. Intensive monrth-long workshop informed my teaching and my performing for many years. This is a company that takes very seriously the power and possibility of the complete human . In an era dominated by mediated entertainment, it is inspiring to experience what this company can do with fit bodies, barre-naked voices, dynamic speech, and respect for the text. Their performances are always full of lively surprises, but refreshingly free of gimmickry.

Review from Guidestar

Sarah S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have done multiple workshops with Shakespeare & Company and they have all benefitted me as a teacher, an actor and a human being. I think it is their extraordinary humane approach to Shakespeare and the art of sharing his words that sets them apart as trainers and mentors. I don't think my acting or my teaching would be what they are today if I hadn't been opened up as a human being by Shakes & Co. It is their focus on an artist's humanity that encourages a deeper ability to connect to an audience and to give them a richer experience of Shakespeare - and any writer - because actors trained by Shakes & Co reveal more on stage.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I teach acting in Boston, and was fortunate to participate in a weekend workshop with Shakespeare & Co. a number of years ago. My experience with them was truly inspirational. It gave me a new love and passion for the words of Shakespeare. Despite having previously earned an MFA in theatre, I never realized the honesty and soul to Shakespeare's work, until I encountered the folks at Shakespeare & Co.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I are from Washington state and started attending Shakespeare & Company summer productions in Massachusetts two years ago while in Massachusetts visiting an elderly relative. She fell in love with Shakespeare at 8 years old and I credit the intimacy, immediacy (and affordability) of the Shakespeare & Co venues. We've seen something in every theater on the site the past two summers and are planning our next trip east around the upcoming season. Even though my daughter doesn't understand all the words, our proximity to the actors and their ability to make Shakespeare's intentions so well understood have meant that she has vastly enjoyed the plays. We have seen other Shakespeare productions since in Seattle and I have been to many, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, but we both rank the Lenox company as the best! The relatively low ticket prices, free demonstrations, and free short productions, make them particularly accessible for families and others who otherwise could not afford to enjoy such performances as often. My daughter raved so much about the free show "More Words, More Play" last year that we returned with to see it again with two other families (including 4 more kids under 12). I can't say enough good about the venue, the actors, the productions or the experience - I just wish we didn't have to travel 3000+ miles to enjoy it every summer!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

i love Shakespeare, it is absolutely amazing. no where else will you find a more devoted group of people that help and train teenagers the language of Shakespeare and have the ability to work with them and create a play with i.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Co. is an amazing organization, especially in the field of education/teacher preparation. In 2001, I participated in a month-long seminar sponsoted by the National Endowment for the Humanties. Twenty-five teachers, froma cross the country, learned the most effective ways to teach Shakespeare through performance, as well as what it's like to act Shakespeare. It was an incredible, transformative experience and changed the way I did certain things in the classroom. Because of the seminar, for years I have participated in the NYC Student Shakespeare Festival with students from Grade 2-7. I have used everything I learned in my classroom, and much of the knowledge cuts across the curriculum.

I also participated in many workshops given by the Training Department, including Making a Personal Connection to the Text, Dropping In, and Text Analysis.

Their productions are clear and emotionally accessible.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was pure chance that I attended a weekend workshop and WOW what a difference a weekend can make. I discovered that my voice could rumble my rib cage and that performing Shakespeare is ...well...FUN. Dennis is truly a Master teacher.

Review from Guidestar