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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

130 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company will be celebrating its 35th year with some wonderful productions scheduled. Meanwhile, they can look back on the past year of outstanding productions with pride. The company is now year round with a robust fall production of The War of the Worlds, a Christmas delight with Santaland and an incredibly funny production of Moliere's Learned Lady with a skilled cast of young and talented actors. This is a company that provides its audiences with unique theatrical experiences. One can not praise it enough.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been attending Shakespeare and Company for twenty-five years or more. Our son and daughter-in-law attended their summer training program and a winter intensive. We attend a great deal of theatre in his country, Canada and Great Britain, but there is a special quality to Shakespeare and Company. There is an energy and a vitality to the company that is unique. We would take our friends to see the performances at the Mount and will never forget the magic of seeing As You Like It and A Midsummer's Night Dream out of doors. However, it makes no difference where they perform, indoors or out, they make plays come alive. We enjoyed their Bare Bard performances, their comedies at the Elaine Bernstein theatre, their student productions; all were outstanding. I have always been amazed that everyone who works there, not just the actors and the other artistic people , but the box office people, the ticket takers, the food people, all exude the same friendly, enthusiastic spirit. We are thrilled that they not have performances in the fall and winter so that we can enjoy them all year round.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Co entered our family's life with actors' residencies in our elementary and middle schools. These were not only the education specialists, who are terrific, but their star actors! My kids learned so much from working with the professionals, who spent I think 6 weeks in the schools! The approach they took, exploring language until each student could understand and feel what Shakespeare was intending to say, was fantastic. A life-changing experience for us all.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have participated in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare for the past four years and it is literally the best time of my year. The environment in everyday rehersal as well as the actual four day festival in Lenox is so welcoming and friendly. Everyone I've met through it is somehow an amazingh person. I don't know of many other places you can find that.

Not only are the student there awesome, though; the people who work there exceed expectations by miles. Working with many of them through Fall Festival and Shakespeare and Young Company, I continue to be amazed. They are all so talented as actors and mentors. They know exactly how to bring out the best in all of their students so they not only produce great plays, but grow as actors as well.

Every play I've seen there as well has been impecable. Whether is Shakespeare or not, the actors, directors and designers all give 110%. I've never been to S&Co and not enjoyed my time.

Shakespeare and Company has changed my outlook on Shakespeare and on acting. It's the most amazing place on Earth.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first became aware of S&Co many years ago when I was Chairman of the DeSisto School in Stockbridge MA, a school for troubled teens. S&Co provided a unforgettable experience for the students, many of whom had never seen a play or acted or participated in any of the myriad opportunities a theatre company provides.The relationship went on for many years. As a result of the interaction of the Desisto School and S&Co, the school initiated a performing arts program, giving these troubled teens a wonderful expressive outle. tAs an attendee I have always been impressed with the calibre of the perfomers and performances. S&Co provides a very needed place in the Berkshire community.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We appreciate Shakespear & Company on multiple levels. For many years we have attended performances. We have never been disappointed....the caliber of the actors--including the actors in training/students, the quality of the material, is truly inspiring. Conversations with students confirm our impression of the life-changing experience time spent with S&Co is for them. Indeed, we value S&Co so much it was a key reason for our deciding to retire to the area.

Over the years we have read with amazement the extensive outreach during the year, the number of students exposed to great works and the impact such exposure must have on them. We have attended numerous performances at which children of all ages have been in the audience. In an age increasingly online, to have children experience live theater, up close and personal, REAL, must stand out as unusual, if not unique, special, and not only thought-provoking, but fun!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having a son participate as a young actor in Shakespeare and Company,
he was mentored, educated and treated with great kindness by all at this
wonderful complex. He was challenged as an actor and grew as he
became involved in the touring company and took on the responsibility as a director for the high school Fall Festival. How wonderful to see so
many young people excited about Shakespeare!! This is a great place and should continue for years to come.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have attended several performances at Shakespeare and company over the last three years. I am consistently impressed with the quality of performance and especially their ability to develop young talent - including actors, stage managers, lighting experts prop people and other theater professionals in training.

Their performances are carefully thought out, creative, educational and compelling. Their professional staff is dedicated to developing young talent.

I can think of no more deserving organization than Shakespeare and Company.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My middle school students absolutely love the Shakespeare performances. They enjoy being drawn into the stories by the actors. They walk away with great enthusiasm to see more Shakespeare plays. They always want to know when we can read another play and, most of all, are anxious to see another performance.

I appreciate that the company gives students a real taste of what the original Shakespeare performances must have been like. The simplicity of the set and props, the constant motion, the amazing sword fights and interaction with the audience all are consistent with performances of Shakespeare's day.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been attending the productions at Shakespeare & Company for several years and think they do a terrific job. The casts are talentd and the productions are extraordinarily professional. They are doing a tremendous job of training our future actors and giving them an opportunity to perfect their craft. Shakespeare & Co is the reason I come to the Berkshires every year.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We need Shakespeare to invent more words to describe the experience of Shakespeare & Co. I've been attending performances since their start in 1978, and have never been disappointed. I couldn't wait until my daughter was old enough to join me - she started loving Shakespeare at age 7. She now attends their summer camp every summer. What she learns there translates into every aspect of her life - fearless public speaking, the sheer joy of words, the companionship of creating a perfomance...all that and sword fighting too. It brings us infinite joy.

Review from Guidestar