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The mission of Shakespeare & Company is to deliver a sustainable, integrated, and vital program of Performance, Training, and Education for the audience, the artist, the Company, and the community. We embrace the classical ideals and visceral experience of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, physical prowess and the embodied voice.
Shakespeare & Company strives to be a thriving center of creative and collaborative excellence in Performance, Training and Education, rooted in Shakespeare’s work and the Elizabethan ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony. We are committed to nurturing the creative impulse, exploring the universal themes of human experience, engaging with the widest possible audience, and influencing future generations.
Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 to create a theatre of unprecedented excellence in Performance, Training, and Education. We aspire to perform as the Elizabethans did—in love with poetic language, visceral experience, and the mysteries of the universe, while rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony.
By inquiry, we mean the practice of questioning from an attitude of honesty, curiosity, and courage.
By balance, we mean welcoming and deeply considering other points of view.
By harmony, we mean incorporating ethical behavior and aesthetic sensibility in all our work and creations.
Shakespeare was an actor, a stakeholder in a company of fellow players, a playwright and a poet. While acknowledging that he usually appropriated the plots and often collaborated with others, we believe Shakespeare was the true author.
Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed. To encounter the plays on his terms, one must experience them in performance.
Shakespeare’s work is steeped in rhetorical convention and devices. Actors performing Shakespeare need ongoing training in the art of rhetoric: persuading, confessing, confronting, revealing, and questioning.
Interaction between the actor and the audience creates the theatrical event. There was no fourth wall in the Elizabethan playhouses; there is no fourth wall in our Shakespeare productions.
There was no artificial lighting in the Elizabethan playhouses. Our use of artificial lighting is designed only to enhance the relationship between the actors and the audience.
To further reveal the complexity of Shakespeare’s artistry,ongoing training in Linklater voice work, movement, dance, music, fight and clown is necessary.
Our Company is a collaboration among playwrights, performers, directors, designers, technicians, managers, dramaturges, producers, promoters, trustees, and audience members. Each voice in this collaboration must be considered and valued by the other.
We work to help each other succeed in our different areas of responsibility. We willingly make self-sacrifices for the greater good of the whole Company. Cooperation is our modus operandi. We believe the success of any program or production is success for the Company as a whole.
In sum, we believe in engaging ourselves and those we serve in a rigorous encounter with the three vital questions at the heart of each of Shakespeare’s plays:
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.