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Shakespeare & Company Hosts Celebration of Life in Honor of Dennis Krausnick


Shakespeare & Company Hosts Celebration of Life in Honor of Dennis Krausnick

Honoring beloved Founder and Director of Training Dennis Krausnick, Shakespeare & Company hosts a special memorial program open to the public. On Monday, June 24, 2019, at 1:00pm the Company welcomes community members and fellow artists to gather for the Dennis Krausnick Celebration of Life, held in the Tina Packer Playhouse Tent on the Shakespeare & Company campus, at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, MA.

"Dennis' contribution to my life and to the company's life is immeasurable," said Tina Packer, "in part because we were passionate about the same things, but also because he had the knack of filling in whenever and wherever rifts were seen and difficulties encountered. For instance, when we first arrived at the Mount in 1978, Dennis went two days early to organize the house and decide how the 20 people moving in would all share it. Or the times he stepped in as Managing Director during the first 20 years. He was integral to forming the Company and keeping us together, creating structures, listening to aspirations and disappointments, never once wavering in his own commitment. In year two, he organized us as two non-profits Shakespeare & Company and Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. When we needed plays about Edith Wharton, or adapting her work, Dennis wrote them. Dennis held us together. He held me together. And I hope this day can offer some small glimpse into the life he lived, as an artist, as a partner, and as a friend."

It was with deep sadness that Shakespeare & Company announced the passing of beloved Founder and Director of Training Dennis Krausnick this past November. Dennis was a leader of the Company since its inception in 1978. He was the cherished husband of Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company; and step-father to Martin Jason Asprey, Actor and fellow Company Member. Dennis also left behind many loving friends, artistic collaborators, students, and fellow Shakespeare & Company supporters. The Company's 2019 Season is dedicated to his legacy.

'Dennis was my first teacher here, and my last," said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. "Missing him is surpassed only by how much we appreciate his dedication and enrichment of this Company.

Shakespeare & Company now invites their extended community to gather as the summer season begins, to celebrate the life and legacy of Dennis. The day includes: a memorial program with stories and sentiments from Dennis' life, a curation of his artistic work, and afternoon tea. Throughout the day Dennis' recently published book of poetry, White Flash, will be available for purchase, with 100% of the purchase price going to the recently established Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund. The Fund, initiated by Dennis, supports scholarships to increase diversity within the Shakespeare & Company's Center For Actor Training.

Much of what Shakespeare & Company strives to be in the world can be traced to Dennis, said friend, fellow Founder, and Director of Education, Kevin G. Coleman. "The theatre artists he inspired and encouraged over the years can hardly be counted. His insight as a writer and director, and his courage as a teacher and performer can hardly be measured. But for me, it was always his friendship.

"Over the last few months, I have been more and more amazed by the outpouring of love and appreciation for Dennis," said Company Member and Committee Chair MaConnia Chesser. "It is almost overwhelming to understand that the impact he had on my life is echoed in the thousands of lives he has reached through this teaching, directing, writing, acting and community service. It is truly an honor for me to be part of creating this day for my friend, and I hope it gives his family, students, colleagues and friends an opportunity to participate in our celebration of a truly exceptional man and artist.

The Company kindly requests all individuals interested in attending to please RSVP by Friday, June 14. To RSVP now please click here or for more information, please call 413-637-1199. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund here.

The Dennis Krausnick Celebration of Life Committee includes: Steve Ball, Ariel Bock, Allyn Burrows, MaConnia Chesser, Adam Davis, Allie Galen, Kristen Moriarty, Tina Packer, Kirsten Peacock, Tom Rindge, and Kristin Wold.

The Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund was established by Shakespeare & Company co-founder Dennis Krausnick in 2018 to provide scholarships for under-represented people of color to become Shakespeare actors, as well as resources for promising artists of color to become teachers of the Company's work. The Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund also supports periodic retreats, bringing teachers and trainees together to brainstorm about the direction of the work, to strengthen the Center for Actor Training programs, and explore how to collaborate and celebrate more deeply. Lastly, the Fund may be used to support artists from war torn countries to participate in Shakespeare & Company's Center for Actor Training programs. To donate to the Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund, visit

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