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Two production photos of Shakespeare plays performed by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Great Lakes Theater and the National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities logo

Two Ohio Companies Receive Grants to Produce Shakespeare Plays and Programming

National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities logoOhio’s Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Great Lakes Theater are among the 40 theatre companies awarded Shakespeare in American Communities grants this year by Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

According to a media release from Arts Midwest, $1 million in grants were given to nonprofit, professional theatre companies from 27 states and the District of Columbia.

The participating theatre companies will present plays by William Shakespeare to student audiences along with educational activities including in-school residencies, workshops, and post-performance discussions.

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company received grant funding for its upcoming production of Macbeth, which will be performed at the Otto M. Budig Theater, April 5 – May 4, 2019. The Great Lakes Theater’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, set to be performed March 29 – April 14, 2019, at the Hanna Theatre, also received funding.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the show for which the company was awarded the Shakespeare in American Communities grant for 2017-18. Photo used with permission by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.“The investment of the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest makes it possible for Great Lakes Theater and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company to introduce Shakespeare to our teens,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “Ohio’s young adults will now have an expanded opportunity to appreciate the arts through a lens that closely resembles, yet contrasts against, our modern world. We extend our congratulations to all involved.”

This is the 16th consecutive year of the Shakespeare in American Communities program. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced 2.9 million middle and high school students to Shakespeare’s work through performances and educational activities. 

“Discovering Shakespeare’s cannon inspires students from all backgrounds across America’s cultural landscape to dream, love, explore, and create new futures in epic Shakespearean style,” said Adam Perry, Arts Midwest’s vice president for strategy and programs. “The Shakespeare in American Communities grant awards bridge the past to the present, where leaders of the next generation are discovering that tomorrow is indeed promised to all.”

Great Lakes Theater's performance of Macbeth, which was awarded a Shakespeare in American Communities grant for the 2017-18 season. Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Theater.According to the Arts Midwest media release, 111 theatre companies across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since 2003. These companies have presented 33 Shakespeare plays through 11,300 performances and 41,500 educational activities at more than 10,000 schools in 4,300 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“Each year, thousands of students have an opportunity to experience Shakespeare performances and educational activities through Shakespeare in American Communities,” said NEA Immediate Past Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest are committed to expanding access to the arts to audiences across the country.” 

For more information about Shakespeare in American Communities and to view a list of this year’s winners, visit

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, 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 nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 30 years. For more information, visit

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist

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