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Shakespeare in American Communities

NOTE: Due to COVID-19 the deadline for the 2019-2020 Shakespeare in American Communities program activities has been extended until December 31, 2020. Grantees are encouraged to update Arts Midwest about changes to their planned grant activities.

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

For the 2020-2021 program year, there are 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 and Juvenile Justice
2. Submit an Intent to Apply by December 6, 2019. This is required and nonbinding. The intent includes both opportunities. Please contact Christy Dickinson at 612.238.8019 if you have questions.
3. Prepare your application(s).
4. Complete and submit the application form by Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

Notifications to applicants for the 2020-2021 season is delayed until June 2020. Thank you for your patience.


Christy Dickinson, senior program director, 612.238.8019
Ellen DeYoung, grants specialist, 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 for the latest information about upcoming opportunities.

Program impact

One hundred and fourteen theater companies and organizations 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, as part of the Schools program. To date, the program has supported over 12,500 performances and more than 49,000 related educational activities at more than 10,400 schools and juvenile justice facilities in 4,440 communities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.