National Endowment for the Arts Kicks Off Largest Tour of Shakespeare in United States History
From Old London to New London, Unprecedented Shakespeare in American Communities Program Begins 100 City Tour with Othello at Connecticut College
September 17, 2003
The National Endowment for the Arts and The Sallie Mae Fund, in cooperation with Arts Midwest, kick off Shakespeare in American Communities with a performance of Othello by Aquila Theatre Company in New London, Connecticut the weekend of September 19.
Shakespeare in American Communities is the largest theatrical tour of Shakespeare in our nation's history. The tour will bring professional productions of Shakespeare 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 will serve as the project's honorary chairs.
"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."
Connecticut College of New London, Connecticut begins its 2003-2004 On Stage at Connecticut College series in grand fashion, hosting the inaugural production of this monumental initiative. In the debut performance, Aquila Theatre Company will present the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello on Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20, 2003 at 8 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium. Tickets are $26, $21 and $16 for adults; $23.50, $19 and $14 for seniors; and $13, $10.50 and $8 for students. For tickets and information, call 860-439-ARTS (2787) or go to www.onstage.conncoll.edu.
For Shakespeare in American Communities, six professional theater companies will tour the country from September 2003 through November 2004. The participating companies and the works they will perform include (a full listing of the participating theaters and venues to date is attached):
In addition to performances, the tour will include 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. In New London, Aquila Theatre Company will present a matinee performance for students from seven Connecticut schools on Sept. 19 at 10 a.m.
"Connecticut College is honored to kick off what will be a fantastic national tour of Shakespeare's works," said Robert A. Richter, director of arts programming, Connecticut College. "The Arts Endowment's Shakespeare in American Communities initiative has created a platform enabling us to reach out to a broader audience, particularly high school students. It is our hope that we can enhance the teaching of literature for students by providing an opportunity for them to see live theater."
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.
"The Sallie Mae Fund is proud to sponsor this impressive endeavor to share the works of one of the world's most celebrated artists with communities throughout the United States," said Susan Corsini, Chairman, The Sallie Mae Fund.
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 please visit www.arts.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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