The National Endowment for the Arts, in cooperation with Arts Midwest, is bringing professional theater productions of Shakespeare and related educational activities to Americans in small and mid-sized communities throughout the country. Shakespeare in American Communities is the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. The initiative launched in September 2003 with a nationwide tour of seven professional theater companies, including performances at 18 military bases. A second phase, Shakespeare for a New Generation, began with the 2004-05 school year and has grown annually. During the 2014-15 school year, 40 theater companies in 25 states and the District of Columbia will conduct performances as well as artistic and technical workshops, symposia about the productions, and educational programs in local middle and high schools.