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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

As a theater critic I've reviewed plays at S&Co for years, and for a long time before I became a reviewer. My daughter, who is now 42, began loving Shakespeare as a preteen because of their wonderful productions, excellent acting, and fresh takes on Shakespeare. I go to theater in New York and in New Haven, CT, and S&Co is a level above most of what I see.

Review from Guidestar

Hallyann G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company has without a doubt one of the finest educational theatre programs for students and teachers alike in the country. Their philosophy and approach to teaching Shakespeare has changed the way I think about directing and teaching my own students, and I know young students who have attended their sessions who have come back entirely new people with a new love and understanding of Shakespeare, theatre, and how the arts in general can shape our lives. I would highly recommend their "Riotous Youth" program for students and their Educator Workshops for anyone in education who has the opportunity to teach Shakespeare and/or theatre in general. The educator programs give not only general approaches but practical, hands-on activities that are classroom-ready and easily adaptable to various learning environments. They are truly transformative.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Co. is my most used resource in the classroom, rehearsal hall and life! I am constantly using the techniques that I learned there with all my students, whether they are 8 or 80. i attended three different workshops there; a long weekend, a teacher four day intensive and the month long acting workshop intensive. I keep a journal with the various theories, ideas, tips, games, techniques, inspirations and quotes and it is worn out from constant use. Every time I put the skills into action, I see incredible results with my students and my own work as an actor and director. I recently prepared the role of Gertrude in Hamlet and it was a joy and a gift to know how to approach the role and bring it to truth and life.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked in many educational theatre programs across the country and Shakespeare & Company's programs (especially the Fall Festival of Shakespeare) are BY FAR the most comprehensive, educational and inspiring. At its core is the belief that Shakespeare's words are meant for everyone to play with and not the domain of a priviledged few. How magnificent to hear students speak so eloquently and passionately about Shakespeare and what it means to them! I applaud the artists and students who have worked together over the years to PLAY!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a high school teacher in the Capital District, my classes have participated in workshops which accompanied the travelling performances. What a blast we had learning how to "play" at Shakespeare. Later, I participated in an onsite workshop for educators during the summer. It was such a great opportunity to learn the pavane, sword fighting, trust-building games, etc. all while immersed in the language of Shakespeare.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first encountered Shakespeare & Company in one of their four day teacher workshops in the late 1980's. Kevin Coleman, the instructor at the workshop, helped me understand how to help my high school students "play" with Shakespeare. My teacher colleagues and I were introduced to swordplay, Elizabethan dance, and the importance of the supporting actors in setting the context of a scene. I believe in their mission and have been a donor ever since. At least once a year, I make the trek from Connecticut up to Lennox for a show. I am working with my school district to bring their educational program to my high school. I was also impressed to learn about their program with the juvenile justice system in Western Massachusetts that engages young men in the production of a Shakespeare play in order to help them positivelyre-design their behaviors. Tina Packer founded the company based on the English model of a theater company where everyone does all of the jobs. This "democratic" operation policy is evident in the cheerful participation of the actors in such mundane off-stage jobs as handing out programs and house managing. I also enjoy the way they bring productions of Shakepeare into today's world. For example, during the porter's drunken speech in Macbeth, the actor ad-libbed some current political situations into his speech. Indeed, Shakespeare is a man for all times, as this wonderful company makes quite clear.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company continues to be one of the best organizations I've ever seen, both in terms of their productions and especially in their work in the fields of education, student empowerment, and the arts.

I attended one of their National Institutes on Teaching Shakespeare several years ago. That was the greatest professional development program I've had in my 9 years of teaching experience. It had a huge impact on me as a teacher, as a theater professional, and as a person.

The work this theater company does is important in the world, and I hope with all of my heart that they continue to do it for many years to come.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company Education programs are renowned for their extraordinary impact. A new world is opened up for students, their teachers, and the audiences that witness the work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've seen work at Shakespeare and Company, and it matches and often exceeds the work of the finest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Of particular note is the unified and consistent style and expertise of the performances. In the clearest and most accessible productions of Shakespeare, you feel that every performer (and production element) is in a shared and cohesive world and that every actor and production element is at the service of the story. This is consistently true of the work at Shakespeare and Company. It is a company of great integrity and vision with a commitment to it's artists, and a deep understanding of the stories they choose to tell.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company is transformative in the way it makes the work of William Shakespeare speak to a modern audience. They use the power of language and very strong production values.

What makes this company remarkable is that many of the people both onstage and off have been around for a very long time, some even since the company's inception in 1978.

I have designed for the company since 1991, finding my feet as a young designer with the company. I consider Shakespeare & Company as my primary training ground and have since gone on to design for Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, independent film, opera, Regional theatre, Higher Education and dance. My work has received critical praise from national publications such as Variety Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal, among many others.

While the company could improve their craft by having more of the core members participate in the industry of performing arts that exixt outisde of Shakespeare & Company, my experience there has, and continues to be, a great opportunity to improve my skills as a designer.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our youth theatre company, New Genesis Productions, in the Catskills of NY has been incredibly inspired by the teaching artists of Shakespeare and Co. We have come to see three seasons of the High School partnership productions, as well as the touring company productions. We have even had guest artists come to us for a day workshop. With every connection, we are moved forward in our work. And, there is something very powerful about going to Shakespeare and Co. to see and feel the energy of a high school audience (the groundlings) supporting their peers - this is what Shakespeare wrote for.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakes & Co offers a life-changing training program. The work is profound. Any actor with any level of experience could benefit greatly from this training experience.
The coordination of the physical, vocal, and emotional training is key.
All of the work is structured to give an actor the best chance of breaking through to the next level of performance, and perhaps most importantly, it gives one the chance to break through to the next level of being fully alive on stage and in daily life. Bravo!

Review from Guidestar

Anna I.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The training I received at Shakespeare & Company's month-long intensive was life-changing. I truly learned what the meaning and importance of having both craftsmanship and GUTS in acting - and that Shakespeare is not a language to "reach at" but poetry to let flow through you! The program also heightened my perceptions and sense of accountability of my actions and feelings and how they can affect others. It was exactly what I needed, trainingwise - I balked at being indebted thousands of dollars from graduate programs, the pacing and material and teaching style at the month-long intensive was perfect for where I was with my actor training needs. Life changing.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an actor getting back on the boards after having a baby, I needed to immerse myself in an artistic training experience. Shakespeare & Co.'s weekend intensive was more than I could ask for.

Set on their extraordinary campus, the four days of training tapped my strengths and potential, challenged me, and made me feel alive as an artist. Dennis Krausnick, especially, guided me to inner resources that had only just simmered in the past.

I reconnected with myself and with my art. I don't think it's a coincidence that I have been working steadily ever since I took the acting workshop two years ago.

Shakespeare & Co. offer something valuable to their community, which extends far beyond the Berkshires. They offer beautiful theatre, yes, but their emphasis on training and development helps to make them a leading contributor to THEATRE in this country.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company has a stellar group of staff, actors and professionals that ensure the highest quality classical theater is presented year round in the Berkshires. The two performance venues, Founders' Theatre and the Bernstein Center for the Performing Arts, host our annual 10+ productions as well as a nationally recognized education and actor training program. "The Mystery of Irma Vep" is playing through March 2011, and is well played by our own Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles. Beat the winter blues by coming out and enjoying a great night of fun and farce at the Bernstein!

Review from Guidestar

Tc C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Theater Management Professional who has worked with the Fall Festival for eight years. The fall festival provides a non-competitive theater experience for high school students that can be found no where else in my experience. The FFSC directors instruct their students in critical thinking, creative decision making within a group & how to really read and understand the difficult text of Shakespeare.

Sharon C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company has helped to develop & educate many students and actors from all over the world in the works of Shakespeare. The training is exceptional, the staff amazing, generous and kind, and the productions are top-notch. I have personally attended two month long actor intensives, and several other educational programs over the years. There is nothing that compares to their training in the region, and I encourage all the actors I know to travel to MA and experience it for themselves. They are even recommended as the "place to train" by famous British actors! The state of MA is very fortunate to be "home" to Shakespeare & Company, and I continue to travel every year from CT to visit and enjoy the productions.
In summary, they are a gem, so please make sure to continue to support them so they thrive!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I received some of the most unique and most important training of my theatre-making career. Shakespeare and Company's approach to expanding and challenging performing artists is exceptional.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company saved my life as a teacher approaching the five year burnout threshold. They really understand how to teach us how to teach young people Shakespeare. They take care of their teachers, so many of whom begin inspired and lose steam. I am still riding on my experience with them from four years ago. I remain grateful to them and to the National Endowment for the Humanities for the experience.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This company is outstanding - I worked for months with their staff, I saw their operation up close, I saw performances; they are among the top in their field and they deserve support!