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.”
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.
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.
Kevin G. Coleman
(Director of Education, Board of Trustees, Founding Member of Shakespeare & Company) Kevin is one of Shakespeare & Company’s artistic and administrative leaders. He works in the Performance and Training departments as an actor, teacher and director, and oversees the mission of the Education department. Kevin teaches text analysis, stage combat and clown, and has been a guest teacher or director at MIT, Harvard, L.S.U., Stanford, Q.U.T.- Brisbane, Lincoln Center, the Folger Library, Shakespeare Festivals in both Stratfords, and the Mercury Theatre in Colchester, UK. Kevin is the Theatre Director at the Austen Riggs Center where he has directed over 30 productions. In 2016, Kevin was Runner-Up for the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.
About the Education Program
The Education Program at Shakespeare & Company is one of the most extensive theatre-in-education programs in the Northeast, and has reached over a million students since 1978 with innovative performances, workshops, and residencies. Guided by Kevin G. Coleman and Jennie M. Jadow, the Education Programs Manager, the artists, teachers, and directors of the Education Program continue to develop and refine programs for elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers across the country.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.