About the Program

Shakespeare in American Communities is a national theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest bringing performances and related educational activities to audiences across the country. The program supports high-quality, professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays for middle- and high-school students in underserved schools throughout the United States.

One hundred and four 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 9,400 performances and more than 31,700 related educational activities at 8,500 schools in 3,600 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Annually, up to 40 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 between August 1 and July 31. These funds enable theater companies to present additional performances and educational activities; engage more schools, including underserved schools; and expand their geographic reach.

Shakespeare in American Communities is helping to build future audiences and inspiring students to become informed theatergoers. The program’s national prestige empowers theater companies to leverage new connections in their community with teachers and school districts, civic and state partners, and other funders.

Participating Theater Companies

A list of the 105 theater companies that have participated in the program can be found here. Find out more about the current theater companies for the 2016-2017 season.