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Two Ohio Theatres Awarded Shakespeare in American Communities Grants

On May 31, 2017, Arts Midwest announced the 2017-2018 Shakespeare in American Communities grants, including two recipients in Ohio. The Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) both received grants that will allow them to present a production of a Shakespearean play to local students.


$1 million in grants was awarded to 40 nonprofit, professional theatre companies across 26 states, plus the District of Columbia. Each theatre company will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from 10 or more schools. Additionally, educational activities will be provided for the community, including in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions. Performances will occur between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018.

 Great Lakes Theater

“All of us at Great Lakes Theater are absolutely thrilled to be a part of Shakespeare in American Communities. This generous public grant in support of our work will enable us to make Shakespeare accessible for students from schools across Northeast Ohio,” said Charles Fee, producing artistic director at Great Lakes Theater. “Our production of Macbeth’s innovative design concept will transform the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square into an Elizabethan-style theater that incorporates new seating sections which surround the playing area and create an immersive experience for audiences....With this choice we are inviting the audience to create a sense of participation in the action of the play. For those sitting on the stage, the experience may feel like being in the play rather than passively observing.”


At Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Sara Clark, associate artistic director and featured actor in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, said the play would mark the grand opening of the debut season in CSC’s brand new, $17.5 million facility in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. With the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest, CSC will present six educational matinee performances of the play for 1,300 students, offering tickets to all students at a 50% reduced price, and reserving 20% of tickets at no cost for underserved students. Alongside the performances, students will receive pre- and post-show discussions, as well as in-school workshops and residencies.A Midsummer Night's Dream at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company


Clark continued, “As an added bonus, CSC will partner with the Cincinnati Museum Center, a one-of-a-kind, multi-museum complex housed in historic Union Terminal, on their Shakespeare and the Queen City exhibit, running August 25th through October 29th. The exhibition will display Shakespeare’s First Folio, on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and will feature multiple interactive elements to help students engage more deeply with Shakespeare’s text. They’ll even have a chance to speak a little Shakespeare themselves onstage!”


Now in its fifteenth consecutive year, the Shakespeare in American Communities is managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 2003, they have introduced 2.5 million middle and high school students to live theatre and the work of William Shakespeare. 33 Shakespeare plays have received support, providing 11,000 performances and 37,500 educational activities to more than 9,400 schools in 4,100 communities.



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 30 years. For more information, visit



Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


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