Arts Midwest Announces 2020-2021 Shakespeare in American Communities Grants
Arts Midwest today announced the recipients of $1.17 million in Shakespeare in American Communities grants, with $1 million going to professional theater companies partnering with schools, and $170,000 going to organizations partnering with facilities in the juvenile justice system.
Now in its 18th year, Shakespeare in American Communities is a theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. By providing grants to theater companies that produce Shakespeare's works, the program supports high-quality productions and educational activities in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile justice facilities throughout the United States. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these performances and educational events may take place virtually or in person between August 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021.
"Many of Shakespeare's plays were written during a plague. Major works like Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest were created in a time of extreme difficulty and adversity." said Christy Dickinson, Arts Midwest's senior program director. "The goal of Shakespeare in American Communities has always been to help Shakespeare's works come alive for students, allowing young people to develop social and emotional skills important to their success. We're proud that this work continues despite the challenges of this year, thanks to our theater companies who are pivoting their programming to help students connect with Shakespeare, teaching artists, and actors in new ways."
Since the program's inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced more than three million middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. The program has supported more than 13,100 performances and 51,000 related educational activities at more than 11,000 schools and juvenile justice facilities in 4,500 communities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. One hundred and twenty-seven theater companies and organizations across the United States have taken part in the program, presenting 34 of Shakespeare's 37 total plays.
Activities will include the following projects:
Colorado Shakespeare Festival's (Boulder, CO) Shakespeare and Violence Prevention program combines Shakespeare in live performance with research on bullying and school violence. Professional actors will perform a stripped-down version of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Artistic Director Timothy Orr. The company will gather actors in August and September for an in-person staging, employing social distancing and heightened safety measures, which will be filmed and shared with schools. The filmed production will be accompanied by real-time virtual educational workshops with teaching artists aimed to help students practice strategies for preventing violence and bullying in their schools.
Nebraska Shakespeare (Omaha, NE) will present their 15th season of Shakespeare on Tour featuring a production of Macbeth. This tour will use a hybrid of live and filmed performances by professional actors accompanied by workshops that will help students expand their comprehension of the text, broaden their vocabulary, and build communication skills. If a completely virtual program is necessary, the company will conduct a real-time, virtual pre- and post-show opportunity for students to interact with actors and ask questions.
The Texas Shakespeare Festival (Kilgore, TX) will bring an abridged production of Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet to schools throughout the state as part of their Roadshow Tour. Along with the performance, related educational activities will include their Activating Shakespeare Workshop, post-performance talkback with actors, and study guide and lesson plan that meets the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Standards.
Selected Companies and Organizations
The following 40 theater companies and organizations have been selected to participate in the program for 2020- 2021. The full list can be found on the Arts Midwest website.
A Noise Within
Actors' Shakespeare Project
African-American Shakespeare Company
American Players Theatre
Atlanta Shakespeare Company
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Great Lakes Theater
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Idaho Shakespeare Festival
Lantern Theater Company
Marin Shakespeare Company
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks
Nashville Shakespeare Festival
Olney Theatre Center for the Arts
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Park Square Theatre Company
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
PlayMakers Repertory Company
Red Bull Theater
Seattle Shakespeare Company
Shakespeare & Company
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
Shakespeare Notre Dame
Shakespeare Behind Bars
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Texas Shakespeare Festival
Theater at Monmouth
Theatre for a New Audience
Utah Shakespeare Festival
Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum