Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents

Student-Teacher Ensemble from across Chicago neighborhoods in

CPS Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Celebrated initiative recognized by The White House


Chicago—October 23, 2014—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents CPS Shakespeare!, a transformative arts-in-education program that engages Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and teachers in creating an original Shakespeare production with CST theater and education professionals. Working under the guidance of stage and film director Kirsten Kelly, the intergenerational ensemble completes an intensive five-week rehearsal process, culminating this year in performances of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on CST’s Courtyard Theater stage. In its ninth year, the program has been honored as a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Performances of CPS Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Courtyard Theater on Friday, November 7 at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Emphasizing CST’s 20+ year role as a partner in literacy with CPS, Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett advocates, “CPS Shakespeare! develops students’ literacy skills as it builds confidence, empowering our city’s teens to approach life’s challenges with bravery and self-assurance.”

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has named CPS Shakespeare! a 2014 finalist in the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation's highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs. Overseen by Honorary Chairman First Lady Michelle Obama, this award recognizes and supports excellence in programs that engage students through learning, self-discovery and achievement. CPS Shakespeare! joins thirty top programs across the country that span a wide spectrum of disciplines and reach.

The citywide ensemble for this year’s CPS Shakespeare! includes 26 students and 9 teachers from 10 schools: Benito Juarez Community Academy; Curie Metropolitan High School; Hancock College Preparatory High School; Hubbard High School; Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School; Mather High School; Multicultural Academy of Scholarship High School; Noble Charter-DRW College Prep; Perspectives Charter—IIT Math and Science Academy and Prosser Career Academy.

Developed by CST Director of Education and Communications Marilyn Halperin and Director Kirsten Kelly, the CPS Shakespeare! program has guided CPS students and teachers for nine years in productions of Othello, Hamlet, The Taming of the ShrewMacbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Program staff also includes Assistant Director Sandra Shimon, a Prosser Career Academy English Department Chair and teacher, who has participated in the program for the past seven years. New this year, ensemble members will incorporate live music into the performance, under the music direction of Mather High School orchestra teacher and first-time CPS Shakespeare! participant, Christian Smith.

Joining Kelly and Shimon on the directing team, Matt Hawkins returns as the Movement and Voice Director. The creative team for CPS Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes: Costume Designer Robert S. Kuhn, Lighting Designer Cat Wilson, Sound Designer James Savage, Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master Cassandra Westover.

CPS Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream is presented in CST’s Courtyard Theater Friday, November 7 at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m. Each performance is followed by a 30-minute post-show discussion with the entire ensemble. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visiting


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary productions of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 600 performances, CST attracts 200,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. Visit



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