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Shakespeare and Company Awarded Arts Midwest And NEA Grants


Shakespeare & Company is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Arts Midwest.

Under its Art Works program, the NEA will continue to support Shakespeare & Company's Fall Festival of Shakespeare, a school-based initiative that enables more than 500 students from ten high schools across Berkshire and Columbia Counties to mount a full production of a Shakespeare play. At the conclusion of the residency, the students stage their work at the Tina Packer Playhouse on the Shakespeare & Company's campus in Lenox, MA as part of a weekend long culminating festival for program participants, family, and the community. 2019 marks the 31st consecutive year of the Fall Festival.

Through its Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools program, Arts Midwest will continue to support the Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare. For 17 weeks between January and May the Tour, presented since 1982, bring professional productions of Shakespeare as well as related workshops and other student focused activities to schools, theaters, community centers, and other venues throughout New England, as well as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. One of Shakespeare & Company's longest running education programs, the Tour also provides a critical platform to professional actor development.

"We are enormously grateful for this support from the NEA and Arts Midwest," said Company Artistic Director, Allyn Burrows. "To provide the means for these young people to have a creative outlet that enhances their confidence to speak their hearts and build a sense of community is fundamentally valuable in their development. We truly appreciate this acknowledgement of the work done by our education team these many years."

In addition to its renewed support of the Northeast Regional Tour, Arts Midwest has included Shakespeare & Company in the very first cohort of its inaugural Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice program. The grant, awarded exclusively to seven organizations, will support the Shakespeare in the Courts program. Created in 2001 in partnership with the Berkshire County Juvenile Court, Shakespeare in the Courts provides an alternative to incarceration to adjudicated youth in Berkshire County through the use of Shakespeare's works as a tool to help develop language, behavior, and other skills. Offered over an intensive and focused six-week period between April and June, Shakespeare in the Courts culminates with a performance of Shakespeare by program participants on the Company campus.

We are honored that the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest continue to believe in the transformative power of language and the universality of the work of Shakespeare as a tool of learning, says Shakespeare & Company co-founder and Director of Education, Kevin G. Coleman. The Fall Festival of Shakespeare, Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare, and Shakespeare in the Courts not only help young people experience live performance, but also empower them to develop new skills, work collaboratively with others, and improve their relationships.

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