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Actors' Shakespeare Project Awarded Shakespeare in American Communities Grant for THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

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Actors' Shakespeare Project Awarded Shakespeare in American Communities Grant for THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

For the seventh consecutive year, the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, has selected Actors' Shakespeare Project (ASP) to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities. ASP will receive a $25,000 grant to support performance-related educational activities around the company's first production, The Comedy of Errors (Directed by David R. Gammon; September 24 - October 19, 2014).

Through the program, ASP estimates it will reach more than 350 students and 22 teachers including our partners at Boston Day and Evening Academy, Charlestown High School, and two Department of Youth Services classrooms. Under the leadership of ASP director of education Mara Sidmore, other key activities will include ASP's Teacher Institute in August at Salem State University, the work of ASP's SWAT Team (Shakespeare Weapons and Tactics) with ten Boston area schools, creation of lesson plans, and support the staging of multiple school matinees and post-performance discussions.

Actors' Shakespeare Project is one of 40 professional theatre companies selected to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities which introduces middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Since the program's inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has benefited more than 2.25 million individuals, including 1.9 million students, with live performances and educational activities.

One hundred and two theater companies across the United States have taken part in the NEA's Shakespeare program since its inception 12 years ago. These companies have presented 33 of Shakespeare's works through 7,700 performances and more than 24,000 educational activities at more than 7,200 schools in 3,100 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, to enhance the educational impact of Shakespeare in American Communities, Arts Midwest and the NEA have developed a comprehensive Shakespeare in American Communities website in order to share resources and grantee spotlights.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people's lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information, visit www.artsmidwest.org.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit arts.gov.

Founded in 2004, Actors' Shakespeare Project has produced 40 plays at 20 unconventional venues throughout Greater Boston. Their resident company of actors and teaching artists approach each play as the centerpiece of a larger community project. The projects include not only the award-winning productions that focus on language, relationships, and storytelling, but a rich set of events, residencies, and outreach programs for both adults and youth that make connections between the plays and our lives here and now. These include open rehearsals, civic dialogue events, workshops, in-school and after-school programs, teacher training, and the company's Incarcerated Youth at Play program. Actors' Shakespeare Project was named best theater in Boston by The Boston Phoenix and Improper Bostonian in 2011 and received the Elliot Norton award for best production for their 2011-2012 Shakespeare in American Communities production of Twelfth Night. Their Incarcerated Youth at Play program was named a 2012 National Youth Arts & Humanities Finalist, StayClassy Award Finalist, and received the 2007 Social Innovation Award. For more information visit www.actorsshakespeareproject.org.

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