Every season, we present a unique blend of commentary and performance, in which noted scholars, directors and writers explore a theme, character or play, as the finest actors of our day perform scenes and speeches. Evenings have also included programs of music, dance and opera in collaboration with major cultural institutions like the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera. Formats also include: Shakespeare In Progress, in which audiences see Shakespeare through the eyes of leading actors and directors as they bring the rehearsal room onstage for open rehearsals, providing a rare view of the theatrical process; and Cinematic Shakespeare, in which the public can experience and compare the work of great Shakespearean actors and filmmakers throughout the history of cinema – with commentary by stage and ﬁlm critics, actors, and ﬁlm historians.
Shakespeare Works is a multifaceted initiative in support of actors, directors and theatrical institutions. Through residencies, workshops, open rehearsals, lectures, post-show discussions, affordable classes and discounted memberships, The Shakespeare Society partners with a range of artists, theaters and cultural institutions to develop and support the production, exploration and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works. Partner institutions have included Classic Stage Company, The Public Theater, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Red Bull Theater, Theater for a New Audience, Continuum Company, Target Margin Theater, Fiasco Theater Company, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Pace University, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Park Avenue Armory.
The cornerstone of this initiative is a series of weeklong residencies that provide actors and directors with the opportunity to work on a play by Shakespeare without the constraints of mounting a full-scale production. The Shakespeare Society provides participating actors and directors with modest stipends, rehearsal space, and access to academic experts, voice and text coaches, and artistic advisers.
At the end of each residency, the actors, directors, and advisers gather for a panel discussion of the play and the week’s work together in front of a live audience of invited guests. These discussions have taken place at various locations with various partners, including the Park Avenue Armory, New York Theater Workshop, The Public Theater, and Classic Stage Company.
Intimate evenings of good conversation and high spirits, where you’ll get a chance to interact with actors, directors, scholars – and each other. Includes Meet the Artist evenings, book parties with well known authors, and panel discussions featuring participants in our Shakespeare Works residency programs. Past guests have included director and critic Robert Brustein, scholars James Shapiro and Harold Bloom, producer Jeffrey Horowitz, directors Martha Clarke, Michael Kahn and Sam Gold, and actors Elizabth Marvel, Kate Forbes, Richard Easton and John Douglas Thompson.
Read and discuss Shakespeare’s plays in a relaxed and informal setting. These in-depth discussions of individual plays range over eight weeks and provide the Shakespeare lover with an accessible guide to the richness and beauty of the greatest dramatist in the English language. Taught by the great Ruth Carpenter.
Speak the Verse Classes
Experience Shakespeare’s language firsthand in these fun, spirited classes taught by leading theater professionals. Learning the intricacies of Shakespeare’s verse gives participants a unique understanding of how he creates character, mood, and meaning. Past classes have been taught by Kristin Linklater, Roger Rees, Steven Skybell, Joseph Plummer and Barry Ingham.
The Shakespeare Society Medal
Awarded in recognition of extraordinary contribution to the appreciation of the Bard, The Shakespeare Society Medal has been presented to Harold Bloom, Claire Bloom, Kenneth Branagh, Peter Hall, Derek Jacobi, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, and Christopher Plummer.
Advance notice and discounts for upcoming Shakespeare productions ✣ Online resources at our website ✣ Access to members-only seminars and classes ✣ And more!
Your membership in The Shakespeare Society, also helps to support Shakespeare in Schools, our educational outreach program.
Students not only come to a better understanding of Shakespeare, but also learn more about themselves and their relationships with others. Reading, acting, and discovering Shakespeare’s plays can be a profoundly personal journey for students and their teachers.
Shakespeare in Schools
Students participating in the program receive in-class visits from classically trained professional actors. Students are encouraged to find their own relationship to Shakespeare, bringing their cultural backgrounds and values to bear on Shakespeare’s work by getting out of their seats and onto their feet!
The Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble
A collaboration with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. A year-long educational initiative with a group of schools and community organizations in the South Bronx, exploring, researching, and performing a single Shakespearean play. Two culminating performances allow the students to share their work with the community.
This program provides professional development workshops for teachers and school administrators. Noted academics, educators, directors, and actors lead workshops where teachers learn innovative ways to teach Shakespeare, and get a chance to share ideas and experiences with one another.
Teachers who are participating in any of The Shakespeare Society’s educational programs may submit a written proposal at any time during the school year to request funds for specific classroom needs relating to Shakespeare. In the past, these grants have provided books, DVDs, and tickets to Shakespeare productions.
Shakespeare Insights Teen Internship Program
Beginning with an intensive twelve-week course, high school juniors and seniors engage in a dialogue with the Bard, his plays, and their relevance to contemporary life. Through classical text study, movement training, and study of teaching methods, interns are trained to become assistant teaching artists. Partnered with a professional actor and teaching artist, students spend the spring semester working in the schools to bring Shakespeare to life for their younger peers, leading workshops and demonstrating through live performance the excitement and accessibility of Shakespeare.
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Congratulations to our friends at the Epic Theater Ensemble! – Playbill.com
Computer program proves Shakespeare didn’t work alone, researchers claim – The Times
Did Shakespeare Want to Suppress his Sonnets? – NPR
John Barton’s Playing Shakespeare series released on DVD – Broadway World
In Soul of the Age, Jonathan Bate Explores the Ideas That Drove Shakespeare – New York Times
The Bard in Berlin: Robert Wilson Takes on the Sonnets – Der Spiegel
Is This a Shakespeare Which I See Before Me? – New York Times
The Shakespeare Society Goes the Distance in Their Birthday Marathon – PlayShakespeare.com
Pinsky Captivates the Shakespeare Society – PlayShakespeare.com