Shakespeare & Company, Inc.
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.
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?
Volunteer & I was a co-director from one of the high schools involved in the project.