News

2014–2015 Shakespeare in American Communities Grants

Grants Mark 12th Year of Support Totaling $11,400,625

SIACPhoto.jpg

Six actors performing, holding cut outs of waves, a ship, clouds, and lightning

Theater at Monmouth’s production of Twelfth NightPhoto courtesy of Theater at Monmouth

Minneapolis, MN – Arts Midwest today announced $1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit, professional theater companies across 25 states, plus the District of Columbia, to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare in American Communities. The awards mark the twelfth consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Each of the participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from at least 10 schools. Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between August 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015.

Shakespeare in American Communities introduces middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has benefitted more than 2.25 million individuals, including 1.9 million students, with live performances and educational activities.

“Arts Midwest’s partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts continues to ensure young and diverse audiences across the country experience the greatest works of Shakespeare,” says David Fraher, president & CEO of Arts Midwest. “The creative programming and unique approaches to outreach presented by Shakespeare in American Communities grantees are quite remarkable and we look forward to seeing the impact of their work throughout the coming year.”

Organizations receiving $25,000 grants for the 2014–2015 season include:

  • Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (Fairbanks, AK) will tour a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Allan Hayton, a Gwich’in actor, director, playwright and arts educator from Arctic Village, who will collaborate with other Gwich’in speakers to translate parts of the play. The company will tour to remote locations accessible only by ferry or airplane and will bring Shakespeare to a region of interior Alaska largely populated primarily of Alaskan Native populations.
  • Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Topanga, CA) will present matinee performances of As You Like It in Topanga Canyon as part of their School Days program. Students from the Greater Los Angeles area will experience Shakespeare performed on an outdoor stage surrounded by ancient California forests. Activities for School Days include an interactive Living History, technique workshops, lunch in the woods, and discussion with the cast. The company will also tour A Midsummer Night’s Dream to schools unable to travel to their theater.
  • American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI) will present matinee performances of Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing at the company’s theater, situated in a naturally acoustical bowl ringed by towering trees. Students from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota will experience the works of Shakespeare first in classroom interactions with professional actors and then through performances in this extraordinary, natural setting.

Please see the complete list of the 40 theater companies that have been selected to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities for 2014-2015.

One hundred and two theater companies across the United States have taken part in the NEA’s Shakespeare program since its inception 12 years ago. These companies have presented 33 of Shakespeare’s works through 7,700 performances and more than 24,000 educational activities at more than 7,200 schools in 3,100 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Additionally, to enhance the educational impact of Shakespeare in American Communities, Arts Midwest and the NEA have developed a comprehensive Shakespeare in American Communities website in order to share resources and grantee spotlights.  

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 25 years. For more information, visit www.artsmidwest.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit arts.gov.