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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

The deadline for the 2019-2020 grant application has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

For the 2019-2020 program year, there were 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).


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.