Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, Yay!


National Endowment for the Arts Awards $50,000 to Shakespeare & Company
Nov 08, 2007

LENOX, MA — The National Endowment for the Arts' Learning in the Arts Program has awarded $50,000 to Shakespeare & Company's 19th Annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare. The generous support of the NEA for Shakespeare & Company dates back to 1984, and this gift brings the running total of NEA contributions to nearly $600,000 over the past 23 years.

The Festival, which has been rehearsing over these past several weeks, is a nine-week program involving over 500 students in Massachusetts and New York, culminating in a four-day marathon of 10 fully-mounted Shakespeare plays in the Company's Founders' Theatre Nov. 15-18. Performances in the participating schools run Nov. 7–11.

Shakespeare & Company is founded upon a belief in the power of language, and this approach is reflected in the Fall Festival. Students are encouraged to dig into Shakespeare's works from the inside out, breaking down the language and mentally chewing on it so as to taste the humor, violence, heartbreak and transcendent beauty of plays written over 400 years ago. Daily rehearsals focus on students' response to Shakespeare's text, opening the doorway for the essential personal connection to works that students may have previously written off as inaccessible.

Led by Shakespeare & Company's Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman, Education Program Administrator Karen Harvey and School Program Manager Alexandra Lincoln, the Fall Festival is specifically designed as a celebration rather than a competition between the schools.

This season's participating high schools include Chatham High School, Mt. Everett Regional High School, Mt. Greylock Regional High School, Lee High School, Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, North Andover High School, Springfield Central High School, Taconic High School and Taconic Hills High School.

"We are incredibly honored and grateful for this recent gift from the NEA and their continued support for all of our Education Programs, in particular our Fall Festival of Shakespeare," said Coleman. "It is this kind of support that makes the Festival possible, and will not only bring Shakespeare vibrantly alive for hundreds of students this year but it also reinforces the fact that arts in education is essential to the full development of all our children."