National Endowment for the Arts Announces Star-Studded "Players' Guild" for Shakespeare in American Communities
Celebrities and Arts Experts Support Art Endowment's Initiative to Bring Live, Professional Theater to Cities Across the Nation
October 9, 2003
The National Endowment for the Arts today announced the "Players' Guild," a group of celebrated arts experts and actors who will lend their support to the Shakespeare in American Communities project. Laura Bush and Motion Picture Association of America President and CEO Jack Valenti will serve as the project's honorary chairs.
Shakespeare in American Communities will bring professional performances of William Shakespeare and related educational activities to more than 100 communities throughout the country. The tour is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with The Sallie Mae Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and Arts Midwest.
The Players' Guild comprises prominent representatives from different areas within the arts community, including:
"We are honored to have the support of such talented members of the arts community who share our passion for Shakespeare's works and commitment to creative excellence," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. "The Guild members will help the Endowment in its mission of promoting excellence in the arts and bringing live theater to the American people."
Over the next 14 months, the Players' Guild will promote Shakespeare in American Communities and the importance of quality arts education programs in all U.S. communities. Guild members will offer their support through a variety of activities, including attending tour events, recording public service announcements and reaching out to key audiences.
"Shakespeare is contemporary for all time," said Guild member Julie Taymor. "His plays cross all age, race and cultural boundaries and entertain while expressing the deepest realms of the human condition."
The centerpiece of Shakespeare in American Communities is performances by six professional theater companies that will tour the country through November 2004. A seventh company was recently added to tour military bases in the United States. In addition to performances, the tour, which was launched September 20, 2003 in New London, Connecticut, will include artistic and technical workshops, symposia about the productions and educational programs in local schools. For a full list of participating theater companies and the tour schedule, visit www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.
"Through Shakespeare in American Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts will revitalize the longstanding American theatrical touring tradition that harkens back to the 18th century," said Chairman Gioia, "bringing high-quality arts experiences to a broad audience, and appealing educational activities to thousands of students."
The National Endowment for the Arts: The mission of the National Endowment for the Arts is to enrich our nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country. Established by Congress in 1965, the Arts Endowment is an independent agency of the federal government and is the largest annual funder of the arts. Since then, it has awarded more than 120,000 grants in all 50 states and the six U.S. jurisdictions. For more information about Shakespeare in American Communities or the Arts Endowment please visit www.arts.gov.
The Sallie Mae Fund: This charitable organization, sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission to increase access to a post-secondary education for America's children by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education.
Arts Midwest: Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest enables individuals and families throughout America's heartland to share in and to enjoy the arts and cultures of the Midwest region and the world. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information please visit www.artsmidwest.org.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency