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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

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This company does the best Shakespeare I've ever seen, consistently, to the point where they reveal to even a Shakespearean scholar (me) lnes of truth and insight I'd missed, despite my knowing virtually the entire canon. However, they are intro-friendly and spread Shakespeare to novice audiences because they are very conscious of the need to make Shakespeare enjoyable to average Americans, adults and students alike. S&Company speak the verse clearly, without being stilted or overly intellectual, engage the audience in a variety of ways, and are consistently and truly funny. And that is only their within their "performance" mission statement. As a teacher, I knew firsthand of how extraordinary the company is at winning over a student audience or engaging in workshops that students never forget, encouraging and even inspiring them. I brought the company out 70 miles once a year to put on their touring production and they were always tremendous experiences for 600 kids.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We bring our college students, especially those in theatre, to see Shakespeare performed with understanding, energy, and imagination that is unsurpassed in my experience. Seeing actors work in repertory gives audiences a clearer sense of the nature of acting. The openness with which actors have talked with our students after performances adds to this. Seeing Shakespeare staged in a space that resembles the Renaissance stage structure for which it was written is a revelation every time. The ability to walk the grounds and think about the play after seeing it enhances the playgoing experience, too.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I can scarcely believe that I did not train at Shakespeare and Company before I did. I've trained with some very fine institutions, but participating (not just learning!) in the innovative work and positive, constructive approach to developing ourselves as theater artists--while we quite literally lived and breathed Shakespeare--was not only great training, but also allowed me to bear witness to the way in which this work inspired actors and teachers to deeper and more personal exploration. I can't recommend S & Co more highly.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company reminds us, vividly and powerfully, in all the work they do as artists, producers, educators of young people, trainers of theater professionals and champions of relishing the human connection that can be experienced so vividly in Shakespeare's plays, that there are lifelong rewards for engagement with any art, and that such engagement can re-invigorate our imaginations, re-awaken our humanity and expand our capacity for empathy and compassion. This is vital and necessary work in all times, but especially during these days of struggle for so many. Shakespeare and Company's outreach to area schools and juvenile courts is a powerful reminder that theater can and does change and save lives every day.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I participated in the month-long intensive training as an actor and returned for a second year as a teacher trainee. I took shorter training as an actor in specific topic areas and participated in trainings taught by the Education Department as a teacher. My experiences had and continues to have transformational effects on my life and the lives of my students.

Review from Guidestar

Victoria R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The training at Shakespeare & Co. changed my life, both personally and professionally, in a profound way. I became a better actor and, frankly, a better human being for having spent a month in an environment of such intense warmth, inclusiveness, creativity, challenge, support, and inquiry. On a daily--if not hourly or more frequent basis--we not only increased our technical prowess, but we asked questions about the bigger issues of art. What does it mean to be human? How do we tell stories that move, excite, inspire our fellow humans? Many theatres can produce fine actors from their training programs, but this is the only one I've encountered that produces not only better artists, but better members of society.

As an audience member, I can say that this is some of the finest, most technically clear, and most heartfelt and sincere work I've ever seen on stage and I am privileged to have witnessed it.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company is a tremendous asset not only to the local community, but their affect reaches across the nation. Not only does the company offer a superb collection of artists doing really powerful performance work on the stage, but their professional training programs are truly top-notch, and their education programs have made significant impact in the intellectual and emotional growth of many youngsters. I had the tremendous good fortune of growing up with the in-schools education programs offered by Shakespeare and Company, which provided the foundation for a life practice of working collaboratively, with honesty and integrity. I have since founded a theatre company dedicated to site-specific interactive performances, in some ways quite different from traditional stage work, but the core elements of emotional truth and clarity of thought and speech in performance, that I first experienced at S&Co, is at the heart of my approach. I put the full strength of my voice behind supporting this company.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a teacher and have taken many workshops at Shakespeare and Company and each time am renewed and inspired at the esthetic value's the education department teaches. They embrace what few company's dare to, the ability to live with ambiguity and not shame students into a polished performance but allows for a genuine process which results in a high quality production. I am a better teacher because of the experiences I have had in those workshops. Cheers!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

There are only a few theatres in this country dedicated to the works of Shakespeare and Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, does it with wit,
verve, grace, tenacity and power. The level of talent, commitment and expertise is of the highest level, and they inspire and elevate everyone who come in contact with them.
In a time when support for culture and the arts is dwindling, this company generates community involvement, and world wide recognition. Audiences everywhere thrill to their work, and there educational and training programs are second to none.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The educational programs at S&Co are life-changing, even for those who are not professional actors - perhaps especially for them. The creative ways of approaching Shakespeare's text deepen and enhance understanding of the plays, but can also make ordinary interactions and self-reflection more powerful. I took a month-long intensive workshop more than 15 years ago, followed by shorter studies with various teachers. I have used techniques in teaching my own classes, many of which have not even been in theater. And my two children were raised as lovers of Shakespeare, partly because of being enthralled at an early age by productions on the Mount.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Shakespeare & Company has brought thoughtful, understandable productions of the Bard's plays, of Edith Wharton adaptations, and of many contemporary works to audiences in The Berkshires for over 30 years. The audiences know they are going to experience something fresh, alive and relevant when they come to S&Co. More importantly, S&Co has influenced many generations of youth through their schools programs and through teacher training. Through the many teachers they have trained -- either in weekend session or month- long intensives -- they have rendered Shakespeare's plays more accessible to secondary and elementary school students. They have made a difference in our world.

Review from Guidestar

Sade N.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love Shake and Co. They have helped me shape wonderfully to the actress that I am. I have also met numerous collaborators and dear friends for life. The quality of the productions is grade A. Wonderful weekend getaway in the summer and winter!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I took a monthlong intensive workshop more than 20 years ago and am still amazed at how the lessons learned there continue to inform my acting work. And I worked on the Shakespeare in the Schools team, directing for the first five years of the Fall Festival. I am so pleased to see so many students still engaged and excited about being part of the program.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a brilliant company with an excellent track record in both performance and training. It's contribution to theatre in the USA and internationally is immense. The first time I trained and performed with them was 23 years ago and I still draw on the things I learned at Shakespeare & Co today, whether I'm training or directing actors in the UK and abroad.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Fifteen years ago I participated in my first weekend intensive. I've been to the month-long and other workshops. Each one has fed me as an artist and a teacher, made me more sure and joyful in my work and life. There is no fooling around in the training offered. It is demanding and loving at once. The month-long intensive is intense. Be prepared to work long and hard six days a week. This transfiguring month is not for sissies.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Compnay is a National treasure. It excels in four areas - exciting Shakespeare and modern productions, excellence in acting, especially in the area of clarity of text, a top grade education programme in the Massachusetts community schools and a very special professional actors' training programme. The company is a family which is a part of the community. It has survived when many other companies have had to close down, because it is highly rated locally and nationally. The work of Shakespeare and Company is greatly valued by audiences, Company members, every child that has grown up with the company in their schools and loyal volunteers. I have been a company member for many years. It is a special creative 'home' where I feel that I can grow and help to enrich the lives of all who visit and work in Theatre. I believe this work is precious and needs to be supported.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One of the best parts about Shakespeare and Company is their dedication to the community and the commitment to enriching youth that is so a part of their programming.

From a completely personal standpoint, the performances are so well done and the theater let's you get "up close and personal" with a high calibre of artists!

Review from Guidestar

Zachary G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company quite simply made me the person I am today. As an adolescent growing up in western Massachusetts, their theater education program, the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, opened up the door to a world I never knew existed. It imbued me with a life-long love of Shakespeare and with the theater in general. Everything I know about classical theater, I learned from them, both as a student and as an actor and a theater education artist. To put it plainly, no one can stand beside them when it comes to arts education. They are in a class all of the own. On top of that, their training programs and performances are superb. If anyone deserves to be rewarded for their contributions to the non-profit arts world, it is them.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The leading exponents of Shakespeare training in this country.

Review from Guidestar

Laura S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was impressed and inspired by the weekend intensive. Shakespeare & Company is one of the foremost classical theaters in America. Their expertise and passion is evident in their productions and training programs.

Review from Guidestar