Arts Midwest today announced the recipients of $1.17 million in Shakespeare in American Communities grants, with $1 million going to 40 professional theater companies partnering with schools, and $170,000 going to 9 organizations working with students in the juvenile justice system.
Celebrating its 20th year in 2023, Shakespeare in American Communities is a theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The program supports high-quality productions and educational activities exploring the work of William Shakespeare in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile justice facilities throughout the United States.
For the first time this year, theater companies were able to choose to either perform a play by Shakespeare or select an adaptation or new play that incorporates Shakespeare’s scenes or monologues. Paired with these performances, each company will host educational activities with students to creatively explore Shakespeare’s work and its context. These performances and educational events will take place between August 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023.
“We are thrilled to announce the latest Shakespeare in American Communities grantees and are excited to see the work that they will be doing over the course of the next year,” says Ellen DeYoung, Grant Manager at Arts Midwest. “All across America, young people will be exploring Shakespeare’s work in a modern context and connecting with themes, stories, and characters that are relevant to today.”
“Shakespeare in American Communities provides an important opportunity for students to learn how participation in the arts can help them express themselves and make sense of the world,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “I hope this experience will lead them to a lifetime of involvement in the arts.”
One hundred and twenty theater companies and organizations across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since the program’s inception in 2003. To date, the program has supported more than 14,500 performances and 54,000 educational activities at more than 11,500 schools and juvenile justice facilities in 4,700 communities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Examples of projects supported:
With their Shakespeare in American Communities Schools grant, Indy Shakes will be producing a groundbreaking free performance of RICKY 3 – A HIP HOP SHAKESPEARE RICHARD III in partnership with local artists Manòn Voice and Geechie. The play’s lines will be rapped over custom made beats. Indy Shakes will then bring a shortened version of this exciting production with an interactive workshop to area schools, engaging students in a unique art form that will increase their familiarity with Shakespeare texts, deepen their knowledge and understanding of hip hop’s rich origins, and highlight the power of narrative story telling.
San Rafael, California
With their Shakespeare in American Communities Juvenile Justice grant, Marin Shakespeare Company will offer weekly drama therapy workshops for young men at the Alameda Juvenile Hall, a temporary holding facility for minors awaiting court. Teaching artists Dameion Brown and Tony Cyprien, who share the lived experience of incarceration, will support students as they write responses to Shakespeare’s work and tap into their creativity and performance skills.
Providence, Rhode Island
With their Shakespeare in American Communities Schools grant, Trinity Rep will produce a new play about Queen Margaret, one of Shakespeare’s most extraordinary women. The adaptation will draw from Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays and Richard III, exploring Margaret’s story as an immigrant woman struggling to find her place in a time of division and upheaval. Middle and high school students will join in post-show talkbacks and workshops to demystify Shakespeare and connect the text to young people’s lives.
Cedar City, Utah
With their Shakespeare in American Communities Schools grant, the Utah Shakespeare Company will produce a touring version of Othello that will be performed in gymnasiums, classrooms, prisons, and community venues. Following the performances, the actors will offer workshops on Shakespeare text, stage combat, and improvisation. By the end of the tour, the company anticipates performing for 20,000 students and teaching workshops to approximately 4,200 students.
Explore all of the 2022-2023 Grantees
Below are the theater companies selected to participate in the Shakespeare in American Communities program for 2022- 2023.
Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice
Grants to support theater education programs in juvenile justice facilities that illuminate the works of Shakespeare and addresses his work in modern context.
|Marin Shakespeare Company||San Rafael||CA||$20,000|
|Delaware Shakespeare Festival||Wilmington||DE||$15,000|
|Shakespeare at Notre Dame||Notre Dame||IN||$20,000|
|Actors’ Shakespeare Project||Charlestown||MA||$20,000|
|Shakespeare Behind Bars||Macatawa||MI||$20,000|
|Youth Arts: Unlocked||Swartz Creek||MI||$20,000|
|Tennessee Shakespeare Company||Memphis||TN||$20,000|
Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools
Grants to support performances of Shakespeare and related educational activities for students from five or more schools.
|African-American Shakespeare Company||San Francisco||CA||$25,000|
|Marin Shakespeare Company||San Rafael||CA||$25,000|
|San Francisco Shakespeare Festival||San Francisco||CA||$25,000|
|Santa Cruz Shakespeare||Santa Cruz||CA||$25,000|
|Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum||Topanga||CA||$25,000|
|Colorado Shakespeare Festival||Boulder||CO||$25,000|
|Denver Center Theatre Company||Denver||CO||$25,000|
|Shakespeare Theatre Company||Washington||DC||$25,000|
|Idaho Shakespeare Festival||Boise||ID||$25,000|
|Actors’ Shakespeare Project||Charlestown||MA||$25,000|
|Shakespeare & Company||Lenox||MA||$25,000|
|Olney Theatre Center for the Arts||Olney||MD||$25,000|
|Round House Theatre||Bethesda||MD||$25,000|
|Theater at Monmouth||Monmouth||ME||$25,000|
|Montana Shakespeare in the Parks||Bozeman||MT||$25,000|
|PlayMakers Repertory Company||Chapel Hill||NC||$25,000|
|The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey||Florham Park||NJ||$25,000|
|Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival||Garrison||NY||$25,000|
|The Acting Company||New York||NY||$25,000|
|Theatre for a New Audience||New York||NY||$25,000|
|Cincinnati Shakespeare Company||Cincinnati||OH||$25,000|
|Great Lakes Theater||Cleveland||OH||$25,000|
|Lantern Theater Company||Philadelphia||PA||$25,000|
|Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival||Center Valley||PA||$25,000|
|Quintessence Theatre Group||Philadelphia||PA||$25,000|
|Trinity Repertory Company||Providence||RI||$25,000|
|Nashville Shakespeare Festival||Nashville||TN||$25,000|
|Tennessee Shakespeare Company||Memphis||TN||$25,000|
|Texas Shakespeare Festival||Kilgore||TX||$25,000|
|Utah Shakespeare Festival||Cedar City||UT||$25,000|
|Seattle Shakespeare Company||Seattle||WA||$25,000|
|American Players Theatre||Spring Green||WI||$25,000|
|Milwaukee Repertory Theater||Milwaukee||WI||$25,000|
Shakespeare in American Communities is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.