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Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools

Grants to USA Nonprofit Theater Companies for
Performances and Educational Activities for Youth

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Arts Midwest

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

02/10/21 Midnight


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Grants of $25,000 to USA nonprofit theater companies for performances and educational activities for high school and middle school students. Applicants must submit an intent to apply prior to submitting an application. Funding is intended to support professional productions of Shakespeare plays and related educational activities, with a preference for students in underserved schools.

Arts Midwest invites proposals from professional theater companies across the nation to perform an in-person, socially-distanced, or virtual Shakespeare play with a professional team of actors and conduct related educational activities for students for five or more middle and/or high schools.

In order to fulfill the goals of Shakespeare in American Communities, theater companies must:

  • Perform an in-person, socially distanced, or virtual Shakespeare play with a professional team of actors. It is not required that the actors be part of an Equity contract. The purpose of this program is to give students exposure to the play in performance. If the production is abridged (a shortened version), it must maintain the theme of the play and offer students the opportunity to experience Shakespeare’s text. Performances may be held in the theater company’s facility, a school, a community venue, or virtually (livestreamed, filmed, or Zoom), but must be conducted in partnership with schools.
  • Conduct related educational activities for students. Activities must be led by experienced teaching artists or actors with strong credentials and training. Activities must take place in conjunction with the Shakespeare production. Examples of these activities include workshops, in-depth pre- or post-performance discussions/talkbacks, seminars, and curriculum-based residencies. Workshops may be recorded and shared with schools. If activities are virtual, there must be at least one activity that is interactive with students, i.e. a pre- or post-performance talkback, Zoom student reading or performance, etc.
  • Reach five or more middle or high schools with a performance and educational activity(ies). The majority of schools must educate underserved students whose access to the performing arts is limited by ethnic background, economic conditions, disability, geographic location, or other barriers. This may include schools in rural or urban communities or federally-recognized tribal communities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 165844

Number of Grants:

The standard grant award will be awarded to up to 40 theater companies.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The standard grant award is $25,000.

Term of Contract:

Programming dates: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This opportunity is open to eligible 501c(3) professional theater companies.

Additional theater company eligibility requirements:
- Applicant must comply with federal eligibility requirements.
- Applicant must have produced Shakespeare or classically-based repertoire within the past five years.
- Applicant must have a minimum of two years’ experience providing performances and related educational activities to middle and/or high schools.
- Applicant must be theater company located in the U.S. and the Native nations that share this geography that compensates all professional performers and related or supporting professional personnel at no less than the prevailing minimum compensation. (This requirement is in accordance with the regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor in part 505 of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Part 505 does not provide information on specific compensation levels.)

A theater company may not receive a Shakespeare in American Communities grant award and a direct grant from the National Endowment for the Arts or another Federal agency for the same project during the same or an overlapping period of support. A company may receive this grant award and the Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice award.

Productions inspired, written, or loosely based on Shakespeare’s text or play do not meet the intent of the program and do not qualify.

Federal eligibility requirements:

Pre-Application Information:

- The Intent to Apply is due on December 3, 2020. This is required and nonbinding.
- Complete and submit the application form by Wednesday, February 10, 2021.
- Notification to applicants: May 2021
- Programming dates: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022

Arts Midwest staff will be available to receive phone calls and respond to emails until 5:00 pm on February 10, 2021, and will be checking email periodically in the evening. The application form will be accessible until midnight.

These awards require nonfederal match of 1 to 1.

If you are a new applicant to Shakespeare in American Communities, Christy will be in contact with you to schedule a call to discuss your proposed project and ensure it qualifies for this program before proceeding too far into the preparation of your application.

All applicants will be asked for a resilience plan that explains how they could pivot the proposed project to accommodate shifts in virtual or in-person programming.

Flexibility due to COVID Response:
It is understood that this proposal is what the company envisions to provide for schools and students during the related time period. And, due to uncertainty of the pandemic, including the future considerations of the safety of actors, teaching artists, or students and the ability for schools to permit artists/actors in the classroom or to take field trips, there could be changes to the scope of the proposed project during the programming period. If selected, any changes to the scope of project must be discussed and approved by Christy Dickinson at Arts Midwest.

Organization must have a DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number, which is free to obtain. Look up your DUNS number here:

Organization must have and maintain an “active” registration in (System for Award Management) until the application process is complete, and if selected, throughout the life of the award. Registration is free but will take time to complete. See here:

Application Information:


News release:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Intent to Apply:

For questions about Intent to Apply or guidance for contents of application, contact Christy Dickinson, senior program director, at 612.238.8019 or

Technical questions:
Ellen DeYoung, grants specialist, 612.238.8028

Arts Midwest
2908 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55408

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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