TN Shakespeare Company Awarded National Grant by Arts Midwest/N.E.A.

TN Shakespeare Company Awarded National Grant by Arts Midwest/N.E.A.Arts Midwest today announced $1 million in grants to Tennessee Shakespeare Company and 39 other nonprofit, professional theater companies across 26 states, plus the District of Columbia, to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare in American Communities.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company receives the matching grant award of $25,000 for its innovative 2017 Romeo and Juliet Project for the fourth time in its organizational history.

The Project will perform Romeo and Juliet 27 times in 22 Memphis area high schools and teach over 700 in-school sessions for 6,400 Freshmen - a total of 25,600 student interactions with a curriculum-based, classical play that teaches compassion, non-violence, and articulation.

TSC will partner with Shelby County Schools, the Germantown Municipal School District, and other municipal school districts to engage Freshmen students interactively with classical text that is part of the core Language Arts curriculum in the state.

The awards mark the fifteenth consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Each of the participating theatre companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from 10 or more schools.

Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between August 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018.

Since the program's inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced 2.5 million middle and high school students to the power of live theatre and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare through performances and educational activities.

"The partnership that Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts have forged benefits not only these highly-talented theater companies, but the thousands of students across the country reached by these theaters' performances and educational activities," said Susan Chandler, Arts Midwest's vice president. "Shakespeare's plays teach creativity, history, complex and intriguing themes, and rich language. Students-especially those in schools that lack financial resources-across the U.S. deserve to be introduced to live performances of his timeless works."

One hundred and eight theater companies across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since 2003. These companies have presented 33 Shakespeare plays through 11,000 performances and 37,500 educational activities at more than 9,400 schools in 4,100 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for youth in communities across the country to see a live Shakespeare production, as well as the educational activities that help them to get the most out of the experience," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Partnerships like this one with Arts Midwest help the NEA to achieve its mission of giving people across America access to the arts."

"We are deeply grateful to Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts both for selecting to support Tennessee Shakespeare Company's life-changing work in scores of Memphis area classrooms," says TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, "and for the tremendous service they provide to children throughout the country by making the arts and Shakespeare's plays immediate, accessible, and affordable. This effort is vital to our country's humanity and education. We are honored to have TSC's work acknowledged by Arts Midwest and the NEA, two organizations that lend us and the work national prestige."

Please view the complete list of 40 theatre companies that have been selected to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities for 2017-2018: https://www.artsmidwest.org/sites/default/files/2017-2018%20Theater%20Companies_0.pdf

About Arts Midwest 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 30 years. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit arts.gov.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare as environmental theatre seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming. Now in its ninth season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare's works. For more information: www.tnshakespeare.org.

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