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Shakespeare & Co. History

The History of Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually, with a core of more than 150 artists.

Born in England, Packer journeyed to the U.S. in the early 1970s with the idea of creating a theater company that merged the power suits of British actors and American actors: the spoken word and the physical body. 

From 1978 to 2000, Shakespeare & Company was located at The Mount, the historic home of Edith Wharton. Its current home in Lenox, Mass., was purchased in April 2000. This large, beautiful property is home to the Company’s administrative offices, housing, rehearsal spaces, and four theaters: the Tina Packer Playhouse, the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, The Roman Garden Theatre, and The New Spruce Theatre, a 500-seat outdoor amphitheater constructed in Summer 2021.

Shakespeare & Co. History

The Company develops and performs Shakespeare's words as well as other classic plays, contemporary works, and those of social and political significance, and embraces the core values of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, visceral experience, and classical ideals expressed with physical prowess and an embodied contemporary voice.

Shakespeare & Co. History

The Company strives to generate opportunities for partnership between actors, directors, and designers of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds, offering one of the most extensive actor training programs in the country. The Center for Actor Training welcomes professionals from all over the world to train with original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods.

Shakespeare & Company is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theater-in-education program; one of the largest the Northeast, it reaches more than 45,000 students annually with innovative performances, workshops, and residencies.

The History of Shakespeare & Co.
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Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.

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