NEA Arts Magazine

NEA's Shakespeare Tour Celebrates Fifth-Anniversary Season

When the NEA began its Shakespeare in American Communities national tour in 2003, it became the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. The Shakespeare program is celebrating the fifth anniversary of Shakespeare for a New Generation, the component of the program aimed at students, by growing even larger. From June 2008 through May 2009, 40 companies, more than a quarter of which are new to the program, will bring 1,400 live professional productions of Shakespeare to nearly 300,000 students nationwide.

As the program turns five, the NEA can boast of having brought the Bard to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 4,000 performances have been enjoyed by more than 1.3 million students and their families, many of whom have received their first exposure to professional theater through this NEA initiative. Not only has Shakespeare for a New Generation benefitted audiences, but the initiative also has provided employment to more than 1,300 of the nation's theater artists, including actors, directors, scenic artists, and stage managers.