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Arts Midwest Announces 2020-2021 Shakespeare in American Communities Grants

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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

Pasadena

CA

Actors' Shakespeare Project

Charlestown

MA

African-American Shakespeare Company

San Francisco

CA

Alley Theatre

Houston

TX

American Players Theatre

Spring Green

WI

Aquila Theatre

Katonah

NY

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

Atlanta

GA

Barter Theatre

Abingdon

VA

Cal Shakes

Berkeley

CA

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago

IL

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Boulder

CO

Delaware Shakespeare

Wilmington

DE

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Denver

CO

Great Lakes Theater

Cleveland

OH

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

Cold Spring

NY

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Boise

ID

Kentucky Shakespeare

Louisville

KY

Lantern Theater Company

Philadelphia

PA

Marin Shakespeare Company

San Rafael

CA

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks

Bozeman

MT

Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Nashville

TN

Nebraska Shakespeare

Omaha

NE

Olney Theatre Center for the Arts

Olney

MD

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Ashland

OR

Orlando Shakes

Orlando

FL

Park Square Theatre Company

St. Paul

MN

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Center Valley

PA

PlayMakers Repertory Company

Chapel Hill

NC

Red Bull Theater

New York

NY

Seattle Shakespeare Company

Seattle

WA

Shakespeare & Company

Lenox

MA

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Los Angeles

CA

Shakespeare Notre Dame

Notre Dame

IN

Shakespeare Behind Bars

Macatawa

MI

Shakespeare Dallas

Dallas

TX

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

St. Louis

MO

Shakespeare Theatre Company

Washington

DC

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Madison

NJ

Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Memphis

TN

Texas Shakespeare Festival

Kilgore

TX

Theater at Monmouth

Monmouth

ME

Theatre for a New Audience

Brooklyn

NY

Theatreworks

Colorado Springs

CO

Utah Shakespeare Festival

Cedar City

UT

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Topanga

CA


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