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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

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company continues with marvelous productions that are entertaining, understandable and educational. See my last year's review for additional comments based on our 33-34 years of attending.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My wife, son and I have been attending Shakespeare & Company performances since about their second season. We find the productions excellent with clear dialogue and action that conveys the meaning of language not always similar to our own and that propels the story. My son went to his first performance at about age 3 and was silent throughout as he was transfixed by the language and action. The productions are always wonderful.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

The arts are crucial to our experience of being human. Shakespeare is at the center of our western tradition of literary and performance artistry. Shakespeare & Co. reinterprets the Bard's and related work for our new age. I continue to be thrilled by and learn so much from this most excellent troupe's work. Their mission is entertainment, philosophy and education - exploring what makes us human and how to be better at it. My 16 year old son still proclaims his Riotus Youth experiences as among the best of his life, and he is not an aspiring actor. Some of my family's most transforming times have been as audience members at S & Co. They are very worthy of continued support.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son and daughter both have participated in Riotus Youth over several years. Both enjoyed it immensely and learned so much about Shakespeare, acting and life. My son said his experiences there were among the best in his life. I also see most of the productions which are second to none and I spent many years in London seeing the RSC. This is an industrious and truely inspiring institution doing worthy work.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been lucky to have been able to attend Shakespeare & Company performances since before they moved from The Mount. I gladly donate each year as well. It is one of the highlights of my summer, and now fall and winter as well, to visit S&Co. for one of their fantastic performances. Their talent, professionalism, dedication and also humor show through in everything they do. For the best in art and culture, it is not to be missed!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been attending performances at Shakespeare and Company for about ten years and have never been disappointed. The major productions are wonderful, but we especially enjoy the performances at the Bernstein which feature the younger members of the company or the intern program. Summer in the Berkshires is great, but we love having quality theatre during the rest of the year at Shakespeare and Company.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company are successful in pursuit of (at least) two important goals. They produce and present excellent regional theater including wonderful productions of several Shakespeare plays each year. Perhaps more importantly, they are working to produce a new generation of actors and theater lovers. This work includes training for actors and the "fall festival" program where members of the resident company work with local high schools to cast and produce a Shakespeare play that is performed in the high school and then brought to the theater in Lenox, MA for a 2-3 day festival where each high school cast performs their work and shares in the love of the work and of theater. For the teens who participate the experience can be transforming, and generates a life long interest in the plays, the language and in theater generally. I have seen few regional theater companies who directly serve such a broad range of ages and audiences, and do so with outstanding results.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been attending performances at S&Co since the mid-1970's when I stumbled upon the company accidentally while on a drive through New England. SInce then no summer feels complete without returning to drink from the well once again. This amazing company not only shines a unique and brilliant light on the Bard but gives voice to so many other wonderful authors and playwrights, often ones otherwise neglected. I think I keep going back because no other experience so helps me understand the way we humans relate to each other. These lessons are invaluable in my own life as I engage in the never-ending struggle to become a better person.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

The productions at Shakespeare and company and always rewarding and special. We are fortunate to have them in the Berkshires, adding to the cultural richness of the area.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

In addition to the great theater performances for visitors and locals, Shakespeare and Co. runs and absolutely outstanding educational program. The "Fall Festival" has to be seen to be believed. Its crazy to think that anyone could get 100's of teenagers eagerly packing themselves into a theater, hooting and hollering for Shakespeare, but they do exactly that year-after-year. 10 regional high schools, each having worked under the direction of a S&Co director, come together for a long weekend of non-stop Shakespeare, showing off their efforts and cheering on the other schools. Its hard to imagine this working, but it does and admirably so.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a patron of and donor to Shakespeare and Company for more than 20 years. Always entertaining, S & Co is also highly educational because of the content of its programming.
S & Co is unique in it's ability to appeal to all ages, not just thru the extensive presentation of the plays of William Shakespeare, but also a liberal program of hilarious farce. There is nothing more rewarding than to hear the gleeful laughter of childern at theatre which can also be throughly enjoyed at an intellectual level by adults. Immediate examples would be the current production of "The Mystery of Irma Vep", the upcoming revival of the 2009 "The Hound of the Baskervilles" or last season's "The Real Inspector Hound".
S & Co's outreach education programs are the delight of young people and their parents throughout our region. These involve productions produced by the company starring students, acting classes in regional schools, court imposed "sentences" to study Shakespeare as the result of juvenile delinquency, and this years 30th anniversary tour of a special S & Co production of "Hamlet", featuring only six actors playing all the roles, to over 50 schools throughout New York State, New Jersey and New England.
I cannot think of an organization more deserving of your consideration.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We've been coming to Lenox to see Shakespeare and Company for the past fourteen years and I have to say that we find there productions to incredibly well done. Every season we look forward to their Shakespeare plays as well as the other works that they present.
One of the things that we've come to enjoy is how accessible the actors are after the performances. Often times we have waited in the lobby after the show and spoken with them about how much we enjoyed seeing them perform.
I've also been very impressed with their commitment to education and to make Shakespeare's works so available to the public.

Review from Guidestar