Monday, February 06, 2006

"Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell."

Shakespeare & Company kicks off the new year with NEA grant and its tour of HAMLET February 6 - May 12

{Lenox, MA} - Shakespeare & Company's 2006 annual Spring Tour of Shakespeare brings Hamlet to schools and theatres throughout New England and New York as it hits the road from February 6 through May 12. Hamlet is generously supported by a $45,000 Shakespeare for a New Generation grant from the National Endowment of the Arts -- one of the newest major arts-in-education initiatives sponsored by the Endowment in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This recent grant marks a $20,000 increase over last year's funding to the Company and has further allowed it to provide matching grants for additional schools who would not have been able to afford to participate in the tour.

The seven-actor production of Hamlet, arguably Shakespeare's most powerful tragedy, is directed by Kevin Coleman, Director of Education, and features Zac Goodwin, Sean Jarett, Curt Klump, Nikki O'Carroll, Sarah Taylor, Marc Scipione and Tom Wells. Each actor plays two or
more roles and also performs stage manager duties. The costumes are designed by Govane Lohbauer; sound design by Kevin Coleman, and set construction and design by Marc Scipione and Zac Goodwin. For tickets and information please contact Group Tours Director Joanne Deutch at (413) 637-1199 ext 132 or visit: .

Shakespeare's Hamlet has been pared down to a 90-minute, fast-paced Bare Bard production -- similar to Elizabethan touring productions that traveled the countryside each time the plague took London and city officials closed the theaters. Scholars believe that these Elizabethan touring companies contained small casts of players, each of whom played multiple roles, and performed scripts that were truncated accordingly.

Shakespeare & Company's seven-member cast performs at schools and theatre venues all over the Northeast, stretching as far north as Portland, Maine, and as far south as New York City.
The tour addresses the growing need for arts experiences for children-at-risk in rural areas where economic stresses, municipal budget cutbacks, and the elimination of school and state arts programming limit opportunities for young people to develop critically-needed educational and cultural perspectives. Each performance for students in grades 7-12 emphasizes language and the relationship between the actors and the audience.

Two interactive workshops and a discussion period are available to the audience in conjunction with the performance. In Wild and Whirling Words, a compilation of Shakespeare scenes, students are introduced to Shakespeare, his language, and the history of his plays. Through Workshops in Performance, students not only learn about Shakespeare's works, but also have an opportunity to become the actors as they create their own Shakespeare performance.

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