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Shakespeare in American Communities

Shakespeare in American Communities is a national theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest bringing performances and related educational activities to audiences across the country. The program supports high-quality, professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays and related educational activities for middle and high school students in underserved schools throughout the United States. During the inaugural season, the program partnered with the Department of Defense to present plays in military bases and in 2009-2011 partnered with the Department of Justice to reach youths in the justice system through educational programming.

Shakespeare in American Communities is building future audiences and inspiring students to become informed theatergoers. The program’s national prestige empowers theater companies to leverage new connections in their community with teachers and school districts, civic and state partners, and other funders.

How to apply

This year the program has two opportunities available for eligible applicants to reach students with the works of Shakespeare through theater. Find out more information here about the Request for Proposals (RFP).

  1. Read the guidelines for each opportunity: Schools (similar to the past RFP) and Juvenile Justice (new RFP).
  2. The Intent to Apply was due on December 7, 2018 and is closed. This is required and nonbinding. This intent included both opportunities. Please contact Christy Dickinson at 612.238.8019 if you have questions.
  3. Prepare your application. Each opportunity has a different application.
  4. Complete and submit the application form by Thursday, February 14, 2019. If you are applying to both opportunities, an application for each opportunity must be submitted by this deadline.

Arts Midwest staff will be in the office to receive phone calls and respond to emails until 5:00pm Central Time on February 14th, 2019, and will be checking email periodically in the evening at [email protected]. The application form will be accessible until midnight.


Christy Dickinson, senior program director, 612.238.8019
Ellen DeYoung, program associate, 612.238.8028
[email protected]

Are you a non-profit, professional theater company that would like to apply for a Shakespeare in American Communities grant? Join our mailing list and be the first to find out when the next application period begins.

Program impact

One hundred and eleven theater companies across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since the program’s inception in 2003. Selected companies have presented 34 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays. To date, the program has supported over 11,800 performances and more than 45,000 related educational activities at more than 10,000 schools and juvenile justice facilities in 4,400 communities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.