Since 1982, Shakespeare & Company has sent touring productions of Shakespeare’s plays, along with a variety of related workshops, into middle and high schools, colleges, large-scale performance venues, and community centers all over the Northeast and beyond, reaching more than 20,000 students, teachers, and audience members each year. Our emphasis has always been on making Shakespeare’s language immediately accessible, presenting the dramatic action clearly, and engaging the audience directly in creating the theatrical event.
In lieu of an in-person tour this year, we are excited to announce our new Virtual Schools Programming and our streaming production of Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World. Click here for more information about our virtual programming for Spring 2021.
Audition dates for the 2022 Tour will be announced in the fall. Please visit our Jobs page here for more information.
From early-February through late-April of 2022, we will be touring a seven actor, 90-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, fully produced with sets, costumes, props, and sound.
A one-day Midsummer package at your school, university, or venue includes:
We also offer custom packages that include access to virtual programming, multi-day residencies with additional workshops, and more. Contact Tour Coordinator Brittney Holland at Education@shakespeare.org for more information about how to customize our visit for your school’s needs.
Below is an example of what a typical day might look like
Example Schedule - One Midsummer performance, Post-Show Forum, and Actor-Audience Workshop
9:00am Actors Arrive
9:00am - 12:00pm Load in / Warmup / Lunch / Fight call / Half hour
12:00pm - 1:30pm A Midsummer Night’s Dream performance
1:30pm - 1:45pm Post-Show Forum
1:45pm - 2:00pm Short break for Actors
2:00pm – 2:45pm Actor-Audience Workshop
2:45pm – 3:15pm Load out
The schedule above can be customized to accommodate your school and classroom schedules, as we know that every school has different scheduling challenges to work around. The only hard-and-fast rule is that the Actor/Education Artists need at least 2.5 hours in the space ahead of a performance.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
"The course of true love never did run smooth."
Helena loves Demetrius, who loves Hermia, who loves Lysander, who loves Hermia in return but doesn’t have her father’s approval. When they all end up in the fairy-filled woods outside of Athens with a mischievous sprite and magic flower, nothing goes according to plan. Throw in some local craftsmen turned amateur actors, a magically-induced donkey’s head, and a royal wedding celebration, and you get Shakespeare’s most delightful, magical, outrageous, and comical portrayal of love, mischief, and duty.
This production is designed to engage audiences of all ages, and works well with middle school, high school, and university groups who are studying Shakespeare in their English classes as well as students encountering the Bard for the first time.
Immediately following a performance of either show, our Teaching Artists host a 15-minute interactive talkback we call the Post-Show Forum. In this lively and provocative exchange, the Teaching Artists use the audience’s responses to the themes of the play to spark a discussion, inviting the students to share their perspectives and engage with their peers as they think more deeply about the play.
As a part of our day at your school, our Teaching Artists will lead your students through one or more of our 45-minute workshops.
If you have any questions about these workshops or are interested in customizing our work with your students, contact Brittney Holland, Tour Coordinator, at Education@shakespeare.org.
Workshop in Performance:
In this workshop, students surprise themselves and each other by creating their own mini-Shakespeare performances. Our first exercises are with the whole group, but for most of the workshop we divide the students into smaller groups, each working on a piece of text from a Shakespeare play which is then performed for their classmates. The actors work closely with small groups of students to unleash an exciting, immediate, and personal experience of Shakespeare's language. In this workshop, each student can succeed and discover that Shakespeare is comprehensible, immediately engaging, and can be outrageously fun.
Number of Students:
The workshop works best with 30 to 40 students and teachers, but can work with as few as 12 participants with an absolute maximum of 50 participants.
The Workshop Space:
For this workshop, we need a space large enough for the whole group to form a large circle and to accommodate all the smaller groups we divide students into for much of the workshop. Normally the school auditorium works fine, but sometimes we need to use the gym or some alternative space.
Exploring the Actor / Audience Relationship:
This is an entirely interactive workshop where students can share their observations, reactions, questions, and dialogue with the actors. It is driven by the students’ curiosity about the show, and with lots of student participation on a volunteer basis. Imagine a couple of volunteers coming up on stage to work on some text, or a dozen students trying a fight move, or an entire auditorium doing an adapted Court Dance – this workshop is designed to help your students engage with the text in a totally new way. The activity often includes the actors re-performing a brief scene from the play that the students request or the actors suggest out of the previous dialogue. The students are invited to make suggestions for the actors to play out as a way to re-interpret or re-direct the scene. The actors work generously to honor the students’ ideas, which often make the scene more dramatic, clearer, or more fun, and give the students an experience of how a simple idea can have a profound effect on the performance. It demonstrates the plasticity of theatre and the imaginative collaboration among the directors, the actors, and the audience that is essential to this art form.
Number of Students:
The workshop can accommodate as many students as you like – we regularly work with the entire audience following the performance.
The Workshop Space:
This workshop is most successful in the performance space following the show, as it allows the actors to utilize the scenic elements in their work with the students.
As a part of your tour booking, you can request a digital copy of our Study Guide, prepared by the Shakespeare & Company Education Department and tailored specifically to each production. The Study Guide is designed as a supplemental resource for teachers and students, to be used in conjunction with our live performance, in order to help better understand the play and form points of connection between the experiences of modern-day students and the story of the play.
The Study Guide contains a brief synopsis of the play, an introduction to the characters, and a scene by scene breakdown of the major events of the play. It also provides descriptions of exercises used at Shakespeare & Company to explore the text, with a selection of scenes to play with in the classroom, along with useful websites and resources for further exploration of themes and connections to current events and everyday life.
If you are unable to bring Shakespeare and Company to your school, your students can still experience the magic of our 2022 Touring Productions at one of our student matinee performances. There will be multiple performance dates for A Midsummer Night’s Dream throughout the spring at the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.
Dates will be announced in the fall – you can check our website at Shakespeare.org or email Education@shakespeare.org to be added to the matinee schedule announcement email.
Shakespeare in American Communities
The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. Shakespeare & Company is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States.
Through this program, we are able to offer financial assistance to qualifying schools to bring our Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare to their students. With the support of the Shakespeare in American Communities Grant, schools pay only $1,000 to bring our performance, talkback, and workshop to their students, or half-price for tickets to a matinee performance.
For more information or to apply, contact Brittney Holland, Tour Coordinator, at Education@shakespeare.org.
Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants
The Big Yellow School Bus program provides grants to help schools meet the transportation costs of educational field trips to cultural institutions and events. For more information and an application, visit the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Big Yellow School Bus web page.
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.