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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Shakespeare & Company, Inc.

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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

The actor training I received at Shakespeare & Co was nothing short of transformational. It reinvigorated my career and opened pathways to creativity that I was unaware of. Any actor, whether a performer of Shakespeare or not, would benefit from their training. The personal connection to the work and dedication to the craft that results is hard to find elsewhere. The dedication and hard work of the teachers and staff is continually inspiring and their unstinting concern for the development of each actor in the program is inspiring.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our school has atteneded several presentations by Shakespeare & Company. They were always accomodating. Those instructors who attend plays on a regular basis commented to me that the productions are top notch. Our first year we wrote a grant to attend. Each year we have been able to take our students to see a live production of a shakespearian work. Something they may only see once in a lifetime.During the first two years we were stuck in traffic and the production company took a brief intermission so our students could see the second half of the play. But before they began an actor explained to our students what had happened to that point. The question and answer period after the play is great for our students as well as pre play booklet to discuss the background of the particular play we are going to see. We are glad that Shakespeare and company can offer such an outstanding theathrical experience at a modest rate for students from lower income populations.

Review from Guidestar

James F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I completed one of their monthlong acting intensives and it was transforming. It affirmed a lot of my notions of what constitutes a good performance and it helped me find and explore new, brutally honest and effective ways to portray Shakespearean characters. It helped me step into Shakespeare's world -- Renaissance England -- and make sense of the elements that used to puzzle me. I would gladly pay the money and do one again, and I intend to in a couple of years. The school's staff are gentle, kind and lovers of their work -- they have devoted their life to this work! I respect them far beyond what words could say.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5


I took an educator's workshop with Shakespeare & Company and it was one of the highlights of any theater training I've had. Not only was the Shakespeare focus of superior content but the exercises and methods they use to instruct and enhance a person's experience are excellent.

Though I've tried to get back to Shakespeare & Co. for another workshop my schedule has prevented that. This is too bad because I valued and utilized so much of what I learned in the first workshop immensely.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tina Packer's executive education programs have enriched my business and personal life for the past 10 years. Through Shakespeare and Company, she has brought to life the difficult, conflicting and ambiguous moral and ethical dilemmas that are present in business today. I leave every performnce with a renewed sense of self empowerment!

Review from Guidestar

Bob A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a fan and customer over the past 15 years, I'm constantly and consistently impressed by the quality of the vision and execution of the Bard's timelessly relevant classics. Looking forward to the next 15 years, and 15 after that!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't speak highly enough about the actor and teacher training that I have received from Shakespeare and Company. It has been exciting and enriching, both personally and professionally, and it has made me a better artist and teacher. I am grateful for all of the experience and growth that I have gained through my work with them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the The Month-long Intensive at Shakespeare and Company and the experience surpassed my wildest expectations. This company is a treasure to the American theatre scene. Company members and instructors have a generosity of spirit, profound knowledge, and ability to inspire greatness in others. Bravo!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tina Packer, founder and artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, has led three annual retreats for my company, CEO Roundtable. Every one of them has been excellent. The CEOs really respond to the opportunity to get inside Shakespeare and engage in self reflection about our common humanity. Tina is an exceptional person and the world is a better place for her being with us. That is why we are honored to contribute to Shakespeare & Company.
Loren G. Carlson
Chairman
CEO Roundtable LLC

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Both my husband and I try to get out to Lenox at least once a year to see a Shakespeare production or two. We have become fans of Shakespeare and Company's intelligent and moving performances. We have also participated in workshops, both for teachers and for actors and have learned a great deal. As someone who teaches Shakespeare, the knowledge I have gained and teach to my students has been so valuable. Both of us use exercises learned in the workshop to help out students get Shakespeare into their bodies, voices and minds.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been coming to Lenox, MA, for over 15 years to see plays at Shakespeare & Company, bringing our children as well. Our younger daughter, Judith, after graduating from Oberlin College in May 2010, was admitted to the Summer Training Institute at S&Co. Those five weeks of intensive actor training in all aspects of theater were transformative, both personally and professionally, inspiring her to try for a career in acting. She hopes to return to S&Co as an intern. Many others have been served by their educational program, and, of course, the public has enjoyed the performances of wonderful plays by Shakespeare and others. Shakespeare & Company forever!

Review from Guidestar

Alix R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Shakespeare & Company's Summer Training Intensive, and I can say that they were the first ones to truly show me what it was to be an artist. With a rigorous schedule, extraordinary teachers and even more extraordinary classes, I felt like I was given the best education possible in just 5 weeks. Now that I'm entering the professional world of acting and theater-making, I'm even more grateful to Shakespeare & Company for the strong base they have given me.

Review from Guidestar

Rachel S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in Shakespeare and Company's Fall Festival for all four years of high school. The chance to work with professional actors as a teenager was amazing, and they were all incredibly supportive. I learned so much from this process, and I feel like their presence brought my high school together. My family also regularly goes to see their performances during the summer, and now that I'm in college I love taking my college friends. I feel Shakespeare and Co. really represents the artistry, kindness, and creativity of the Berkshires, and I don't know what our area would do without their generosity.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Shakespeare & Company has always been superb!
I now take my Grandchildren to as many performances as possible. This has motivated my Grandaughter to continue to Study Shakespeare in High School. If not for her experience with S&C I am sure she never would have considered further study and enjoyment of the performances.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Attended a training weekend. Preparation was excellent, and role was developed with tremendous effect, a total immersion in Othello which brought totally new insight into play and specific roles. Some of the BEST physical and vocal preparation I hvae ever experienced, combining elements from yoga, martial arts, voice training. Superb coaching in voice production to back personal understanding of roles. I only wish I could attend more often.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been part of S&C's training intensive. I went as a theater professional and I trained with colleges who wanted to seriously develop their craft. I then went back and volunteered by Assistant Directing and Directing and again I was impressed by the level of scrutiny and artistic integrity that the company gives to the text and all the rest of the details of production. Way to Go S&C!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Fall Festival has been an enormous inspiration for both the participants and the audience. The community has eagerly looked forward to this time of year as a ritualistic event.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my daughter was in eighth grade, and losing interest in education, Shakespeare and Co. came to her school to present MacBeth, both by getting each student involved in performing scenes, and by showing them what it would be in theri own lives today. The actors who came, caught the imagination and involvement of the students, and they became quite interested in Shakespeare in general. Ten years later, she still remembers MacBeth, and has attended other Shakespeare performances.
My other daughter, who was an active student, chose to take her friends to Shakespeare and Co. for her 17th birthday. We had a picnic on the lawn, and enjoyed a show. This is a wonderful organization.

Review from Guidestar

Andre T.

Client Served

Rating: 4

My first experience with Shakespeare & Company came in the summer of 2008 as an audience member. I was so inspired by the work that I applied to and participated in the 2010 Winter Month-Long Intensive. This was the perfect complement to my MFA studies in acting. My confidence in Shakespeare grew tenfold. The personal attention I received was obviously built upon from years of expertise dealing with actors in continuous development. I opened up more than I had before in any such opportunity. I was then fortunate to be accepted as a Performance Intern for Summer 2010, performing in two shows and understudying a role in one main stage production. I was also awarded EMC points. Again, my confidence benefited.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to spend a month with Shakespeare & Co. in an intensive training programs for actors and teachers. Besides being top-notch performers and teachers, they are passionate about sharing their gifts and skills for the purpose of educating EVERYONE about the language, history and potential of Shakespeare's works to make this world a better and more informed place. Their mission is self-less, their transformational powers limitless. Students of ALL AGES benefit.

Review from Guidestar