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Chicago Shakespeare Theater featured in
“Shakespeare on the Road” initiative
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust explores Shakespeare in North America today
Chicago—July 31, 2014—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today its featured role in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust tour—Shakespeare on the Road, documenting the role of Shakespeare in contemporary North America. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launched this project in honor of Shakespeare’s Quadricentennial—a two-year celebration spanning the 450th anniversary of the playwright’s birth in 2014 and the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. Throughout the summer, the United Kingdom-based organization travels to fourteen Shakespeare theaters and festivals across the United States and Canada, coming to Chicago's home for Shakespeare on August 8th and 9th. In addition to contributing to a digital archive documenting Shakespeare in America, the artifacts collected at CST will be included in the world-renowned holdings of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, which houses the Royal Shakespeare Company’s historic archives.
During their two-day visit to CST, the Shakespeare on the Road team will interview the Theater’s leadership and a number of artists, see a performance of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to learn more about CST’s partnership with the Chicago Park District, and will attend rehearsal for the Theater’s upcoming fall production of King Lear, directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines.
In Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s role as an authority on the study and presentation of Shakespeare, the organization will present an honorary plaque to CST at a special luncheon with the Theater’s leaders and board members on August 8. Michelle Boone, Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, will be accepting the award on behalf of CST along with the Theater’s leadership. The plaque features a bronze medal designed by sculptor Greg Wyatt mounted on a piece of cedar tree from the garden of Shakespeare’s birthplace. The Shakespeare on the Road visit and awarding of the plaque cement CST’s connection to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Theater’s role as a leader among Shakespeare theaters nationally and internationally.
“The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is one of the preeminent international institutions devoted to the work and legacy of William Shakespeare,” CST Director of Education and Communications Marilyn Halperin said. “Over the next two years, we and organizations like ours around the world are celebrating the Shakespeare Quadricentennial. The Birthplace Trust inventively chose to look far beyond the shores of Shakespeare’s home to North America, where his work is interwoven into our history, and is being reinvented, reimagined and reshaped in a world very different from the world that fostered his genius, 400 years ago.”
Over the course of the visit, the Shakespeare on the Road team members’ interview schedule includes CST’s Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, Executive Director Criss Henderson, Director of Education and Communications Marilyn Halperin and current CST artists. As part of the archival process, Shakespeare on the Road has already gathered reflections on performing Shakespeare from actors Kevin Gudahl and Greg Vinkler, who most recently performed in CST’s 2013/14 season production of Henry V. Shakespeare on the Road researchers will use the findings from the CST visit—and the other stops on the journey—to publish a book, podcasts and a radio program commenting on Shakespeare in contemporary North America.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. CST has evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at their home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. Chicago Shakespeare serves as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, families and audience members of all ages welcome the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city of their Chicago home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured their own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theater Tony Award®, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-seven total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among its many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
ABOUT SHAKESPEARE BIRTHPLACE TRUST
Shakespeare on the Road is an initiative helmed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, an independent organization in Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom devoted to preserving Shakespeare heritage sites and cultivating the enjoyment and understanding of the playwright’s works. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also maintains the archives for the Royal Shakespeare Company and holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and library archives.
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