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Since 1982, the actors and teachers of Shakespeare & Company have created touring productions of Shakespeare. Each winter and spring, we bring 90-minute productions of Shakespeare with accompanying workshops to theatres and schools throughout the Northeast and beyond.
For our 2019 Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare, you can choose between two 90-minute productions, each of which is followed by our 15-minute Post-Show Forum:
“Stand and unfold yourself”
The King dies suddenly while napping in the garden. Queen Gertrude marries his brother, Claudius, less than a month later, and Claudius becomes the new King. Prince Hamlet, home from university for the funeral and the wedding, is visited by what appears to be his father's ghost. The apparition tells Hamlet that Claudius poisoned him and that Hamlet must revenge his death, but must take no action against the Queen. Is the ghost real? Is it sent to tempt Hamlet into committing murder? Is it a figment of his grief stricken mind?
Hamlet is the most performed play in the history of Western theatre. After more than 400 years it still asks the questions that are the hardest to answer; questions of love, duty, friendship, betrayal, grief and madness. And the most difficult of all: how do we, flawed as we are, make the right choices?
Taming of the Shrew
"And where two raging fires meet together
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury"
Smart, passionate, and spitting mad, Kate wants nothing to do with marriage or men. But in Padua, marriage and money are the name of the game, and Kate’s younger sister Bianca is the ultimate prize. Alas for Padua’s vying bachelors, Bianca can’t marry ‘til her sister gets hitched. So when the wild renegade Petruchio arrives in Padua in search of a wife (and her dowry), he and Kate collide in a battle of wills that could change the rules of their world forever. Shakespeare’s explosive and provocative comedy stirs up questions about love, power, identity, and wealth, compelling us to examine the rules of our world and the roles we play inside it.
Immediately following a performance of either show, our actors host a 15-minute interactive talkback we call the Post-Show Forum. This is a lively, provocative exchange between the audience and the actors, where the actors pose questions to the audience about themes that came up in the play and invite the audience to respond. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the actors and share their ideas and opinions.
As a part of our day at your school, our Actors/Education Artists will lead your students through your choice of one of our 45-minute workshops:
Actor / Audience Workshop:
This is an interactive workshop for students’ observations, reactions, questions, and dialogue with the actors. The Actor/Audience Workshop works best when it takes place after the performance, as 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. Then the activity switches to the actors re-performing a brief scene from the play that the students might request or the actors might suggest out of the previous dialogue. The audience is then invited to make requests or suggestions for the actors to play out as a way to re-interpret or re-direct the scene to incorporate the students’ ideas. The actors work generously to honor the students’ ideas, and their requests often make the scene more dramatic or clearer or more fun, and it additionally give the students an experience of how a simple idea can have such 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 of theatre.
Number of Students: The workshop can accommodate as many students as you like!
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.
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 accessible, outrageous, and immediately engaging. They also perceive their classmates in new and delightful ways.
Number of Students: The workshop works best with 30 to 40 students and teachers (or less!). The absolute maximum is 50 students; the workshop cannot succeed if there are more than 50 students present.
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.
If you are unable to bring Shakespeare & Company to your school, your students can still experience the magic of our 2019 Touring Productions at one of our student matinee performances.
There will be multiple performance dates for both Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew throughout the spring at the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA and at the Casey Theatre at Regis College in Weston, MA.
Dates for the matinee performances at the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company are:
Monday, February 4th, 2019
Monday, March 25th, 2019
Monday, April 22nd, 2019
The Taming of the Shrew
Monday, February 11th, 2019
Monday, March 4th, 2019
Monday, April 8th, 2019
Dates for the matinee performances at the Casey Theatre at Regis College are:
Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
The Taming of the Shrew
Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
All performances are at 10:00am, run for 90 minutes, and are followed by our Post-Show Forum, an optional 15-minute talkback with the actors.
Tickets are $10/student, and teachers and chaperones are invited to attend the performance free of charge. Contact us for information about half price tickets for qualifying schools through funding from Shakespeare in American Communities: Shakespeare for a New Generation, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
To reserve seats for these performances, contact Brittney Holland, Tour Coordinator, at (413) 637-1199 ext.106 or email@example.com.
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.
Additionally, you may apply to your Local Cultural Council for funding. Visit the MCC’s Local Cultural Council Program web page for information on how to apply.
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.
For more information or to apply, contact Brittney Holland, Tour Coordinator, at (413) 637-1199 ext.106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.