National Endowment for the Arts Brings Shakespeare to Military Bases
Unprecedented partnership with the Department of Defense
August 30, 2004
Montgomery, AL – The National Endowment for the Arts announced today the launch of the Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour. Through a unique partnership, the Arts Endowment is collaborating with the Department of Defense to bring the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and its production of Macbeth to 13 U.S. military bases. The tour begins on September 10, 2004, with a performance at Maxwell Air Force Base at 7:00 p.m. in the Maxwell Base Theatre.
With $1 million from the Department of Defense, the Arts Endowment will work with all four military branches to serve military personnel and their families with free performances and educational activities. After two performances and activities at Maxwell Air Force Base, the tour continues through October 21, and ends at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The tour is managed in cooperation with Arts Midwest, based in Minneapolis. Additional support for Shakespeare in American Communities is provided by The Sallie Mae Fund.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said, “As our country now has the best-educated, best-trained military in our nation’s history, the Arts Endowment has made a conscious effort to extend programs of artistic excellence, including Shakespeare in American Communities, to the men, women, and their families in our nation’s armed forces. We look forward to bringing the greatest playwright in the English language to a great audience.”
The 13 bases that comprise the tour include three Army, three Navy, two Marine and five Air Force bases in 11 states from North Carolina to New Mexico. Alabama Shakespeare Festival expects to present 17 to 19 performances and many more educational and outreach activities over the six-week tour. In the spirit of theater tours of the past, the venues on each of the bases range from theaters to gymnasiums to, in one case, an airplane hanger. The Arts Endowment is also providing multimedia resource kits for teachers and librarians on all the bases. The kits feature a recitation contest guide, timeline poster, and audio CD among other materials.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Producing Director Kent Thompson believes the spectacle and the story of Macbeth will thrill audiences. He said, “We watch two of the best and brightest (Lord and Lady Macbeth) decide to seize power through murder and deception. In doing so, they unleash a furious evil into their world. Macbeth is also a fascinating study in the self-creation of a tyrant. It suggests that moral principles must never be compromised for power or ambition.”
Shakespeare in American Communities is the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. Since September 2003, the Arts Endowment has engaged 29 professional theater companies to bring new Shakespeare productions and special in-school programs to more than 200 communities across all 50 states.
Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour with Alabama Shakespeare Festival: performance dates
September 10 and 11 Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL
Additional Shakespeare in American Communities engagements. Other theater companies currently touring with Shakespeare in American Communities are expanding their tours to include military bases.
March 6, 2004 Fort Richardson, Anchorage, AK (Aquila Theatre Company)
For information about the opening night performance at Maxwell Air Force Base, please contact Sherry Ward at Alabama Shakespeare Festival at 334-271-5326. For more information on Shakespeare in American Communities or the National Endowment for the Arts, please call the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency