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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

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6 bdactor

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I took the Month Intensive in January of 1999 and found it to be a life and career changing experience! The great information was one thing, but the methods of working and the passion for the process is what was truly inspiring. Since then I have returned for several other workshops, all equally well run and taught.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company is by far the most inspiring company that I have ever worked with. They consistently bring together the most talented and passionate people in their fields to create vital pieces of theatre. In particular, the volunteers that donate their time to this company, do so with joy and passion that is unsurpassed by any other company I have worked with. All together, the experience of working there is essential to my (and many others') growth as an artist and a human being.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an educator with 44 years of experience in teaching high school English, I have participated in countless professional development workshops and meetings. No professional development has come close to matching the powerful positive impact of the programs offered by Shakespeare and Company. Not only was my own teaching enlivened and deepened by exposure to the talented and dedicated actors of the company, but my entire school district was transformed into Shakespeare enthusiasts. The first daylong workshop I attended gave me a wealth of new tools with which to teach the plays and, more importantly, made the sense of "play" a key part of my approach to introducing students to Shakespeare. The risk-taking that Kevin Coleman demonstrated and encouraged in the little band of educators was a gift that carried on to my students as I asked them to go far beyond just reading the text into living the emotions of the characters. Then came my opportunity to participate in a month-long workshop "Shakespeare and the Rose Theater." That was truly transformative for me. I met and questioned world-renowned scholars in the field; I struggled along with my peers to memorize lines; I went on stage and felt the pain of a father losing his son to Macbeth's tyranny and the bawdiness of a tavernkeeper's wife who entertained Henry V. I returned to school ready to lead the entire district in a Renaissance festival, the centerpiece of which was an in-house performance by "Shakespeare and Company." An entire public high school in rural upstate New York dressed themselves in handmade Renaissance costumes, ate a banquet of authentic foods hosted by a queen and king, performed contradances, and enjoyed jesters and jousting matches. The information, the enthusiasm, and the attitudes I learned from the dedicated staff at "Shakespeare and Company" have, over the years, allowed me and other teachers like me to bring to life for thousands of students the ideas and emotions of Othello and Macbeth and Hamlet that otherwise would be mere words on a page. The tradition of inviting "Shakespeare and Company" to our district has continued, despite budget limitations, for over a decade, clear evidence that the entire district has been "hooked" by the Company's fine performances and student-friendly attitudes. I am deeply grateful for the experiences offered me by Shakespeare and Company and can only hope that others will be able to be similarly affected over the coming years.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company is an invaluable organization for the arts. As an actor it provided me training and performance experiences that were transformational. (Even though it's almost 15 years since my stint there, I can use that word without reservation.) It has imbued me with a sense not only of gratitude, but of community, such that it is one of the landmarks in my 35-year career as an actor. There are many moments from my time there that defy easy description, but that will stay with me for the rest of my life. More than that, Shakespeare and Company sees itself as an inseparable part of its community. From its longstanding annual touring of New England schools, to the many ways it involves itself with the Lenox, Mass. community, to its vanguard efforts to widen casting opportunities for actors from ethnic minorities, it is a community resource whose absence would be felt mightily if – god forbid – it failed to survive. The place Shakespeare and Company holds in the American and international theatre community can't be given enough emphasis.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Transformative. I've taken various training programs over the years since 1983, when I took my first Linklater voice class with Andrea Haring. I've done two month-long intensives, and assisted the amazing Tina Packer on a production. Their work has informed my aesthetic, challenged me to think about Shakespearean performance in new ways, and introduced me to other producers, performers and scholars that shape my rehearsal process. Since working with Shakespeare & Company I have co-founded two Shakespeare Festivals, and am running one of them now. Shake & Co. is a treasure. I highly recommend their company.