Shakespeare in American Communities is a national theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, that brings performances and related educational activities to audiences across the country. The program supports high-quality, professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays and related educational activities for middle- and high-school students in underserved schools across the United States.
A hundred and eight theater companies across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since the program’s inception in 2003. Selected companies have presented 33 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays. To date, the program has supported 11,000 performances and more than 40,000 related educational activities at more than 9,800 schools in 4,200 communities in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Annually, up to forty nonprofit theater companies are selected to receive $25,000 grant awards to provide performances of a Shakespeare play and related educational activities for middle- and high-school students. The funds enable theater companies to present additional performances and educational activities; engage more schools, including underserved schools; and expand their geographic reach.
Applicants must be a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization or unit of state or local government; be a U.S.-based theater company that compensates all professional performers and related or supporting professional personnel at no less than the prevailing minimum compensation; have produced Shakespeare or classically-based repertoire within the past five years; and have a minimum of three years' experience providing performances and educational activities to middle and/or high schools.
Complete program guidelines and application instructions are available at the Shakespeare in American Communities website.