National Endowment for the Arts Launches Shakespeare for a New Generation to Introduce Thousands More Students to Magic of Live Theater
Arts Endowment Announces Participating Theater Companies for Second Phase of Shakespeare in American Communities
April 23, 2004
Washington, DC - On the occasion of William Shakespeare's 440th birthday, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia today announced participating theater companies for the second phase of its signature Shakespeare in American Communities initiative: Shakespeare for a New Generation. The tour is made possible by the Arts Endowment in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
During the first phase of the program, six professional theater companies have been touring more than 100 cities in all 50 states. Thousands of high schools are also being reached via performances or Shakespeare educational toolkits. In addition, a seventh company will tour 16 military bases.
Today, Chairman Gioia announced the following 22 theater companies have been selected to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation. Companies will receive matching funds to support activities targeting students from at least 10 schools in their communities, states or regions during the 2004-05 school year.
In addition, the Hobart Shakespeareans (Los Angeles, CA), under the direction of Players' Guild member and National Medal of Arts winner Rafe Esquith, have been engaged for special summer performances in Los Angeles.
"Quality theatrical productions are common occurrences in major cities across America," said Dana Gioia, Chairman of the Arts Endowment. "Nearly every night, theaters light up to entertain crowds, revealing magical scenes, transporting audiences to various places and times. Now, these famous scenes of love, tragedy and comedy will unfold for a different audience on smaller stages nationwide, exposing many young viewers to Shakespeare for the very first time."
Education will continue to be an integral part of Shakespeare for a New Generation. The project combines the presentation of art with arts education through scholastic programs and classroom materials. In addition, educational materials developed by the Arts Endowment and showcasing some of the greatest actors of our day will continue to be distributed, free of charge, to thousands of classrooms.
Mrs. Laura Bush, honorary co-chair of the program applauded the extension of the largest tour of Shakespeare's works in American history. "Thousands of American youth will have the chance to experience live theater through Shakespeare for a New Generation. The initiative will provide middle and high school students - many whom have never seen a live performance due to geography, economic conditions or other challenges - the opportunity to see a professional production of a Shakespeare play," commented Mrs. Bush.
While performances and workshops for students constitute a major portion of the program, the larger second phase involving 22 companies will focus entirely on introducing middle and high school students to Shakespeare and live theater. By the end of 2005, Shakespeare in American Communities will have introduced one million students to live, professional theater.
The National Endowment for the Arts: The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts--both new and established--bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information about Shakespeare in American Communities or the Arts Endowment please visit www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.
Arts Midwest: Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest enables individuals and families throughout America's heartland to share in and to enjoy the arts and cultures of the Midwest region and the world. 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 non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information please visit www.artsmidwest.org.
For more information, contact: Trisch Smith at 202-326-1783 or Victoria Hutter at 202-682-5570. Due to the collaborative nature of this project, please include all of the participating theater companies when referring to the project participants.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency