Chicago Public Schools

"A place to become reinvigorated in teaching."
Teacher, Westinghouse College Prep (CPS), Chicago

"I would love for me and my family to go back to CST and see how wonderful it is."
Student, Eli Whitney Elementary (CPS), Chicago

The challenges facing our urban school systems are familiar as the topic of frequent news stories. Sometimes seeming insurmountable, the challenges are great—but so are the resources embedded in our community. Chicago Shakespeare Theater is committed to serving the students and teachers in our city.  As a theater devoted to Shakespeare—and to the power of language and the spoken word--we work closely with students and teachers in CPS schools across the district. From deeply subsidized tickets, to a free, yearlong professional development program for urban teachers of struggling readers (a program now in its tenth highly successful year), to our nationally awarded intergenerational ensemble of teachers and students performing Shakespeare, this partnership in literacy with CPS is a cornerstone of our most important work at CST.

In recognition of “outstanding contributions to the innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms” and, specifically, our partnership with Chicago Public Schools for the past two decades, our Education Department was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare Steward Award. CST was the first arts organization to be receive this prestigious national award. 


Each year, this transformational program invites CPS students and their teachers from across the city out of the classroom and into the rehearsal room to create an original Shakespeare production.


CPS high school English teachers practice drama-based strategies for engaging the widest range of students—including struggling and reluctant readers, English language learners and special education students—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts.





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