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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

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company continues with marvelous productions that are entertaining, understandable and educational. See my last year's review for additional comments based on our 33-34 years of attending.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My wife, son and I have been attending Shakespeare & Company performances since about their second season. We find the productions excellent with clear dialogue and action that conveys the meaning of language not always similar to our own and that propels the story. My son went to his first performance at about age 3 and was silent throughout as he was transfixed by the language and action. The productions are always wonderful.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

The arts are crucial to our experience of being human. Shakespeare is at the center of our western tradition of literary and performance artistry. Shakespeare & Co. reinterprets the Bard's and related work for our new age. I continue to be thrilled by and learn so much from this most excellent troupe's work. Their mission is entertainment, philosophy and education - exploring what makes us human and how to be better at it. My 16 year old son still proclaims his Riotus Youth experiences as among the best of his life, and he is not an aspiring actor. Some of my family's most transforming times have been as audience members at S & Co. They are very worthy of continued support.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son and daughter both have participated in Riotus Youth over several years. Both enjoyed it immensely and learned so much about Shakespeare, acting and life. My son said his experiences there were among the best in his life. I also see most of the productions which are second to none and I spent many years in London seeing the RSC. This is an industrious and truely inspiring institution doing worthy work.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been lucky to have been able to attend Shakespeare & Company performances since before they moved from The Mount. I gladly donate each year as well. It is one of the highlights of my summer, and now fall and winter as well, to visit S&Co. for one of their fantastic performances. Their talent, professionalism, dedication and also humor show through in everything they do. For the best in art and culture, it is not to be missed!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been attending performances at Shakespeare and Company for about ten years and have never been disappointed. The major productions are wonderful, but we especially enjoy the performances at the Bernstein which feature the younger members of the company or the intern program. Summer in the Berkshires is great, but we love having quality theatre during the rest of the year at Shakespeare and Company.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company are successful in pursuit of (at least) two important goals. They produce and present excellent regional theater including wonderful productions of several Shakespeare plays each year. Perhaps more importantly, they are working to produce a new generation of actors and theater lovers. This work includes training for actors and the "fall festival" program where members of the resident company work with local high schools to cast and produce a Shakespeare play that is performed in the high school and then brought to the theater in Lenox, MA for a 2-3 day festival where each high school cast performs their work and shares in the love of the work and of theater. For the teens who participate the experience can be transforming, and generates a life long interest in the plays, the language and in theater generally. I have seen few regional theater companies who directly serve such a broad range of ages and audiences, and do so with outstanding results.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been attending performances at S&Co since the mid-1970's when I stumbled upon the company accidentally while on a drive through New England. SInce then no summer feels complete without returning to drink from the well once again. This amazing company not only shines a unique and brilliant light on the Bard but gives voice to so many other wonderful authors and playwrights, often ones otherwise neglected. I think I keep going back because no other experience so helps me understand the way we humans relate to each other. These lessons are invaluable in my own life as I engage in the never-ending struggle to become a better person.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

The productions at Shakespeare and company and always rewarding and special. We are fortunate to have them in the Berkshires, adding to the cultural richness of the area.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

In addition to the great theater performances for visitors and locals, Shakespeare and Co. runs and absolutely outstanding educational program. The "Fall Festival" has to be seen to be believed. Its crazy to think that anyone could get 100's of teenagers eagerly packing themselves into a theater, hooting and hollering for Shakespeare, but they do exactly that year-after-year. 10 regional high schools, each having worked under the direction of a S&Co director, come together for a long weekend of non-stop Shakespeare, showing off their efforts and cheering on the other schools. Its hard to imagine this working, but it does and admirably so.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a patron of and donor to Shakespeare and Company for more than 20 years. Always entertaining, S & Co is also highly educational because of the content of its programming.
S & Co is unique in it's ability to appeal to all ages, not just thru the extensive presentation of the plays of William Shakespeare, but also a liberal program of hilarious farce. There is nothing more rewarding than to hear the gleeful laughter of childern at theatre which can also be throughly enjoyed at an intellectual level by adults. Immediate examples would be the current production of "The Mystery of Irma Vep", the upcoming revival of the 2009 "The Hound of the Baskervilles" or last season's "The Real Inspector Hound".
S & Co's outreach education programs are the delight of young people and their parents throughout our region. These involve productions produced by the company starring students, acting classes in regional schools, court imposed "sentences" to study Shakespeare as the result of juvenile delinquency, and this years 30th anniversary tour of a special S & Co production of "Hamlet", featuring only six actors playing all the roles, to over 50 schools throughout New York State, New Jersey and New England.
I cannot think of an organization more deserving of your consideration.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We've been coming to Lenox to see Shakespeare and Company for the past fourteen years and I have to say that we find there productions to incredibly well done. Every season we look forward to their Shakespeare plays as well as the other works that they present.
One of the things that we've come to enjoy is how accessible the actors are after the performances. Often times we have waited in the lobby after the show and spoken with them about how much we enjoyed seeing them perform.
I've also been very impressed with their commitment to education and to make Shakespeare's works so available to the public.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

S&Co. brings so much to Berkshire County and beyond. Seeing the results of their outreach school program culminating in the Fall Festival is heartwarming in this era. Being a full time Berkshire resident, it is
wonderful to have theater all year. With smaller casts one gets to interact with the productions. Open rehearsals and discounted tickets to County residents are other winning factors. S&CO is generous in donating time and tickets to help other non-profits in their fundraising.
During the summer the place is wildly busy with a bucolic atmosphere, and something for all ages, often free. Other than the two main stages, Bankside, the Rose Footprint Stage is family and young actor friendly appealing in a madcap way to a diverse audience.
It is a no-brainer to support S&Co.

Review from Guidestar

Petie H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have admired and supported this amazing asset to the cultural world for a number of years. It's unique style of actors sharing administrative work of the organization while honing their impressive artistic skills has created a rare responsiveness. Far reaching vision and standards combined with practical experience is what this group of fine artists is about. Add to that, the grounding created by teaching each other and their peers as well as the new generation of young people, makes for teamwork that is unsurpassed. No wonder their artistic work is world renowned and each production a revelation.

In addition, they have developed beautiful property which had been abandoned, right in the center of Lenox, MA. It has become alive, a stunning setting for all citizens and visitors to enjoy the delight of first-class theatre in imaginative programs.

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company has been an important part of my and my family's life for the past 32 plus years. From the very first performance of Midsummer Night's Dream at the Mount we knew we had connected with something very magical. It is so rare to find Shakespeare performed in such a way that everyone who attends totally understands what is being said. You can see the meaning of each word in the actor's toes. I think if you were deaf you would be transported. I have taken the intensive training three times over the past thirty years and each time brought home gifts for my life as well as my art. Shakespeare and Company has fed my body, mind and soul. What more could you ask from any organization.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been an audience member and supporter of Shakepearse & Co for over 15 years. The group is terrific-in educating and entertaining students, adults and pretty much anyone with whom they have contact. William Shakespeare himself would be proud of their work.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare and Company consistently brings world-class theater to the Berkshires. It makes Shakespeare live and accessible to all audiences in an intimate setting. The non-Shakespeare plays are well-chosen and are a wonderful mix of old and the new. All and all a terrific value for the ever-shrinking entertainment dollar.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

We have a second home in the Lenox area and frequent Shakespeare & Co and other local theatre. S&CO;consistantly delights with entertaining and thought provoking shows and presentations. Thery are one of the treasures of the Berkshires.

2 dahurwitz

Donor

Rating: 5

We became aware of S&Co;last year when my son applied to be a performance intern for the 2009 summer season. He was fortunate to be selected and had a wonderful learning and performing experience that truly solidified his appreciation of Shakespeare and advanced his performance skills. We also had the opportunity to see several of the main stage productions, often joined by friends, and we greatly enjoyed Shakespeare, maybe for the first time ever. The people, the leadership the other performers made our frequent visits to Lennox most enjoyable.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

We are hooked! Our first experience with Shakespeare & Company came in 2005 when we went to see "King John" after reading a review in a Berkshire newspaper. It was one of the most delightful theater experiences ever! We sat in the front row (could have put our feet up on the stage!) and were mesmerized. I gushed to my friends that I had witnessed more sword fights in that one night than I had ever in my life up to that point. The performances never disappoint. We always come away with at least one specific memory, be it the twigs in Mad Cordelia's hair in "Hamlet", the full bodied sinister portrayal of Iago in "Othello", the thrower lights from "Midsummer Night's Dream" or the delivery of the line from "As You Like It" (Rosalind pursuing Orlando in quest of marriage) "What do you say?" The non-Shakespeare plays are equally enthralling. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is Broadway worthy. We would have seen it more than once had we the time. We even took in the tour. Loved the costume and props shops!

7

Donor

Rating: 5

One thing is for certain that Shakespeare and Company is great theater...One never ever says they are good for summer stock...No they are just plain great theater compared to all venues...I have grown up with live theater both in LA and NY as well as performances in London...To me Shakespeare and Company is on a par with the best...They just happen to be located in the beautiful Berkshires so you'll need a car cause yellow cabs and checkers are not always lined up outside...Chris Morley

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Shakespeare & Company has been for many years an extraordinary organization performing plays of Shakespeare and other playwrights. The plays are always performed well by talented actors and actresses. They recently did a hilarious performance of Hound of the Baskervilles. They also provide theater exposure to many students.