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Shakespeare & Company Receives Mass Cultural Council Grants

(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company is the recent recipient of two education grants from the Mass Cultural Council. The Company was awarded $33,700 through the MCC's Cultural Investment Portfolio and $16,000 through MCC's YouthReach for the Company's nationally recognized Shakespeare in the Courts program.

"We are so proud to be recognized by the Mass Cultural Council, and so grateful for their support of our programs," said Education Director Kevin G. Coleman. " The MCC is the most far-sighted and dedicated cultural council, and the example they set in valuing and supporting our youngest citizens is a real beacon to the nation."

The Mass Cultural Council has approved a spending plan for the new fiscal year that will invest more than $14 million in a range of grant programs, services, and initiatives to support the arts, humanities, and sciences in communities across Massachusetts. The new spending plan increases grant awards for nonprofit cultural organizations, communities, and artists, and significantly boosts investment in creative youth development and education in schools and communities statewide.

"This plan reaffirms our mission to support culture in ways that expand economic opportunity, elevate the quality of life, embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, and empower our creative youth," said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director.

The Mass Cultural Council works to expand access to quality, creative learning experiences for young people in schools and community settings through a range of grant programs and initiatives. One of those initiatives is YouthReach, a program that supporting nonprofits that empower disenfranchised young people through in-depth learning and skill-building in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

The Education program at Shakespeare & Company is one of the most extensive theatre-in-education programs in the Northeast, and has reached more than a million students since 1978 with innovative performances, workshops, and residencies. Guided by Kevin G. Coleman and Education Programs Manager Jennie M. Jadow, the artists, teachers, and directors of the Education Program continue to develop and refine programs for elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers across the country.

The Shakespeare in the Courts program, organized in conjunction with the Berkshire Juvenile Court System, offers adolescent offenders and at-risk youth a unique opportunity to study, rehearse, and perform Shakespeare as an alternative to more punitive consequences. Since 2001, Shakespeare & Company education artists have worked closely with juvenile court judges and the probation officers of Berkshire County to engage these adolescent youth offenders and those in need of support and provide an alternative to traditional punitive measures. During this intensive and focused project, participants explore Shakespeare’s text and prepare their own performance piece as part of the terms of their probation.

About the Cultural Investment Portfolio
The Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) provides unrestricted general operating support grants and project support grants to nonprofit organizations that provide public programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities in Massachusetts. CIP recognizes that organizations with an established record of programmatic service and administrative stability should have access to funds to support their organizational goals and objectives, and to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding. More than simply a traditional grant program, we view the Cultural Investment Portfolio as a vehicle to strengthen our state’s nonprofit cultural sector, not only through grants, but also through information, advocacy, and peer exchange.

About YouthReach
The goal of YouthReach is to promote integration of substantive out-of-school arts, humanities, and science opportunities into a collaborative response to the needs of young people and communities. The program aims to develop and deepen opportunities for young people to create a more just and equitable society through their art-making and to position Creative Youth Development Programs as key leaders in discovering and developing opportunities to improve the livability and economic vitality of their communities. To this end, YouthReach works to foster dynamic cross-sector collaborations to ensure young people’s academic, professional, and personal success. Through YouthReach more than $13 million has been granted to 120 organizations over the past 23 years, reaching over 40,000 vulnerable young people, their families, and their communities. The YouthReach Initiative has been supported since its inception with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. YouthReach is a model program that has received national recognition, with many projects cited for excellence by the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards given by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In November 1998, the YouthReach Initiative was honored by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies with the first annual Innovation Award, which recognizes "best practices among state arts agencies.”

About the Mass Cultural Council
The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, inclusion, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to foster a rich cultural life for all Massachusetts residents and contributes to the vitality of our communities and economy. The Council pursues this mission through a wide range of grants, initiatives, and advocacy for artists, communities, organizations, and schools.

About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.

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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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