U.S. Representative Cass Ballenger Welcomes Shakespeare in American Communities to North Carolina
National Endowment for the Arts sponsors national tour of William Shakespeare's plays to 100 cities in all 50 states
October 15, 2003
Washington, DC - The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with The Sallie Mae Fund and with Arts Midwest, will introduce Shakespeare in American Communities to North Carolina audiences this fall.
On October 13, U.S. Congressman Cass Ballenger (R-NC), representing the 10th district of North Carolina, kicked off the state's Shakespeare performances with a visit to Northview Middle School in his home town of Hickory, where Aquila Theatre Company conducted a guided tour of Othello for the school children. Actors introduced the play's characters and language to the students, connecting them in a fun and engaging way to this theater classic. Rep. Ballenger and Arts Endowment Senior Deputy Chairman Eileen Mason gave introductory remarks and watched the performance with the students.
Aquila also gave an afternoon performance of the play for older students at Hickory High School where actor David DelGrosso led a master class - an energetic and participatory class exploring some of the vocal and movement acting techniques used by the theater company. Additional upcoming performances in North Carolina include:
Shakespeare in American Communities is the largest theatrical tour of William Shakespeare's plays in our nation's history, bringing professional productions to more than 100 small and mid-sized communities in all 50 states. Laura Bush and Motion Picture Association of America President and CEO Jack Valenti serve as the project's honorary chairs.
In addition to performances, the tour includes artistic and technical workshops, symposia about the productions and educational programs in local schools. The Arts Endowment has developed an educational resource packet for teachers that includes a teacher's manual, recitation booklet, brochure for students, timeline poster, audio CD, educational video and bookmark.
The Sallie Mae Fund is underwriting "The Sallie Mae Fund Free Seats for Students" program. In each city of the Shakespeare in American Communities tour, 50 complimentary tickets will be given to deserving high school students and their parents or chaperones to enjoy the performance.
"A great nation deserves great art," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. "We are proud to present to America performances of the highest caliber by the greatest playwright in the English language. Shakespeare in American Communities exemplifies the Arts Endowment's commitment to artistic excellence, arts access to all Americans and leadership in arts education."
For Shakespeare in American Communities, seven professional theater companies will tour the country from September 2003 through November 2004.
For more information on the North Carolina performances or a full listing of the participating theaters and venues, please visit www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.
The National Endowment for the Arts: The mission of the National Endowment for the Arts is to enrich our nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country. Established by Congress in 1965, the Arts Endowment is an independent agency of the federal government and is the largest annual funder of the arts. Since then, it has awarded more than 120,000 grants in all 50 states and the six U.S. jurisdictions. For more information about Shakespeare in American Communities or the Arts Endowment or please visit www.arts.gov.
Congressman Cass Ballenger: Congressman Ballenger is an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, a body that reviews grant award decisions and advises the Chairman of the Arts Endowment. Ballenger also serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee which has the responsibility for reauthorizing the NEA. For more visit www.ballenger.house.gov.
The Sallie Mae Fund: The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission to increase access to a post-secondary education for America's children by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education.
Arts Midwest: Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest enables individuals and families throughout America's heartland to share in and to enjoy the arts and cultures of the Midwest region and the world. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information please visit www.artsmidwest.org.
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