Friday, April 23, 2004

Playhouse wins grant to tour Bard in schools



By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is one of 22 regional theaters chosen to participate in the second phase of the National Endowment for the Arts' Shakespeare in American Communities project.

Playhouse will mount a 90-minute adaptation of season opener Twelfth Night that will tour to middle and high schools beginning in January.

"This is our biggest school tour ever," says Playhouse producing artistic director Ed Stern.

"The NEA matching funds make it possible to have a more fully realized production. This makes it possible to go in with a larger cast, costumes, sets, to talk about it with classes, to make it a special event, not another school-time activity."

Details regarding specific amounts to the theaters have not been determined. Individual grants are expected to fall within the $10,000 to $30,000 range. Today's announcement coincides with the date accepted as Shakespeare's birthday, 440 years ago.

The touring Twelfth Night will have a cast of nine, including members of the MFA Acting Company from Ohio University who will understudy roles in September's main stage production.

As many schools as possible will be asked to participate in a full-day residency with the company, with actors leading classroom workshops and discussions.

"Educators have raised an increasing call for Shakespeare," Stern says. "Teachers tell us they feel ill-equipped to teach these plays."




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