The mission of Shakespeare & Company is to deliver a sustainable, integrated, and vital program of Performance, Training, and Education for the audience, the artist, the Company, and the community. We embrace the classical ideals and visceral experience of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, physical prowess and the embodied voice.
Shakespeare & Company strives to be a thriving center of creative and collaborative excellence in Performance, Training and Education, rooted in Shakespeare’s work and the Elizabethan ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony. We are committed to nurturing the creative impulse, exploring the universal themes of human experience, engaging with the widest possible audience, and influencing future generations.
Values and Ethics
- The pursuit of excellence in each element of our creative endeavors;
- The integration of Performance, Training and Education, with the belief that shared technique, knowledge, and experience better develop artists, build audience, sustain the Company, and expand our influence;
- The connection and collaboration among theater Artists, Trustees, audience, and community;
- Our role as good neighbors: endeavoring to keep our word, managing our financial obligations, participating in civic affairs, and working to better the quality of life in our community;
- The relationship between the Company and the Board of Trustees as one of mutual understanding and support: the Company commits itself to understanding the role of the Trustees, and the Trustees endeavor to understand the work and work methods of the Company;
- The incorporation of ideas that allow us to run our organization with generosity and ethical action;
- Management practices that reflect and support cooperation, inclusion, fiduciary responsibility, and consensus as the foundation of decisions;
- Honoring the voices of all Company members, and supporting their authentic and courageous expression;
- Recognizing the artistic risk and process necessary for the creation and sustainability of great theater and great teaching;
- Poetic language and the actor’s craft of bringing it alive to reveal truth before an audience;
- Theatrical storytelling that is both dramatic and illuminating, and
- The inclusion and development of theatrical works that embody Elizabethan values, and are responsive to the interest and pleasure of our audience, supporters, and those we serve.
- Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 to create theater of unprecedented excellence in Performance, Training, and Education spaces. We aspire to perform as the Elizabethans did—in love with poetic language, visceral experience, and the mysteries of the universe, while rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony.
o By inquiry, we mean the practice of questioning from an attitude of honesty, curiosity, and courage.
o By balance, we mean welcoming and deeply considering other points of view.
o By harmony, we mean incorporating ethical behavior and aesthetic sensibility in all our work and creations.
- Shakespeare was an actor, a stakeholder in a Company of fellow players, a playwright, and a poet. While acknowledging that he usually appropriated plots and often collaborated with others, we believe Shakespeare was the true author.
- Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed. To encounter the plays on his terms, one must experience them in performance.
- Shakespeare’s work is steeped in rhetorical convention and devices. Actors performing Shakespeare need ongoing training in the art of rhetoric: persuading, confessing, confronting, revealing, and questioning.
- Interaction between the actor and the audience creates the theatrical event. There was no fourth wall in the Elizabethan playhouses; there is no fourth wall in our Shakespeare productions.
- There was no artificial lighting in the Elizabethan playhouses. Our use of artificial lighting is designed only to enhance the relationship between the actors and the audience.
- To further reveal the complexity of Shakespeare’s artistry, ongoing training in Linklater voice work, movement, dance, music, fight and clown is necessary.
- Our Company is a collaboration among playwrights, performers, directors, designers, technicians, managers, dramaturges, producers, promoters, trustees, and audience members. Each voice in this collaboration must be considered and valued by the other.
- We work to help each other succeed in our different areas of responsibility. We willingly make self-sacrifices for the greater good of the whole Company. Cooperation is our modus operandi. We believe the success of any program or production is success for the Company as a whole.
- In sum, we believe in engaging ourselves and those we serve in a rigorous encounter with the three vital questions at the heart of each of Shakespeare’s plays:
o What does it mean to be alive?
o How should we act?
o What must I do?