Are you part of a theater company looking to produce a Shakespeare or adaptation of his work for young audiences? Or are you a theater practitioner of a nonprofit organization illuminating Shakespeare for youths in the Justice System? Arts Midwest invites applications for our Shakespeare in American Communities program that make Shakespeare relevant to youths and further explore and address his work in a modern context.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo Avery Brunkus, courtesy of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Shakespeare in American Communities connects youths across the country to Shakespeare plays by supporting performances and educational programs in schools and the Justice System. 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.
Shakespeare in American Communities Breakdown
- WHAT: Shakespeare in American Communities is a project-based, matching grant that helps theater companies and organizations bring Shakespeare to youths.
- WHEN: Applications are due February 2, 2022, and funded projects must occur between August 2022 – July 2023.
- WHERE: Nonprofit theater companies and organizations located across the United States and the Native nations that share this geography can apply.
- WHO: The Schools program is available to theater companies producing a play that is the works of Shakespeare or adaptions of Shakespeare’s text with related educational activities in partnership with schools. The Juvenile Justice program is available to nonprofit organizations providing Shakespeare educational activities in partnership with the Juvenile Justice System.
Two tracks: Schools and Juvenile Justice
Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools
We invite proposals from theater companies across the nation to perform an in-person, socially-distanced, or virtual performance by professional actors of a play by Shakespeare; an adaptation of Shakespeare’s text; or a production that incorporates scenes, monologues, and/or sonnets of Shakespeare that is relevant to today and conduct related educational activities for students that further explores and addressed his work in modern content by partnering with five or more middle and/or high schools between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.
“Seeing a diverse cast perform Shakespeare, as well as seeing a young actor portraying a role they can see themselves in, can open doors for youths. I’m proud to be part of a theater that sees the value in giving young people of color what I never saw growing up.”
– Actor Billie Wyatt of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice
We invite proposals from theater companies and organizations across the nation to engage youths in illuminating the works of Shakespeare that address his work in modern context through theater education programs in partnership with the Juvenile Justice System between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.
“We engage with Shakespeare and relate it to our own lives. During one session, we were talking about emotions, expressing passion in healthy and unhealthy ways, so I took a monologue from “Glory” by Denzel Washington, and they really got into it and it made the Shakespeare monologue easier for them. So, we find different ways to greet the mind.”
– Teaching artist Dameion Brown, Marin Shakespeare Company
Here are the 5 things you should know as you apply:
- Organizations can access up to $25,000 to support Shakespeare educational programs for youths.
- The deadline for a required intent to apply is December 2, 2021.
- For school applicants, we will now accept plays that not only are full-length or abridged Shakespeare’s plays but those that are adaptations of his work or ones that include his scenes. All productions should offer students the opportunity to experience Shakespeare’s text.
- Applicants will need to explain how Shakespeare is relevant to youths today and must address his work in modern content.
- Unlike previous years, school applicants will not be required to submit a work sample.