The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (formerly called "New Jersey Shakespeare Festival") is one of 25 professional theatres in the state. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation — serving 100,000 adults and children annually — it is New Jersey's only professional theatre company dedicated to Shakespeare's canon and other classic masterworks. Through its productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.
The company's dedication to the classics and commitment to excellence sets critical standards for the field. Under the leadership of artistic director Bonnie J. Monte since 1990, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues to draw larger and larger audiences and garner unprecedented critical acclaim. Now in its 51st season, it is the longest-running Shakespeare theatre on the east coast.
In 2002 and 2006, The Star-Ledger named the company "Regional Theatre of the Year," and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation awarded the Theatre a prestigious Strategic Partnership Grant in the amount of $1 million, "in recognition of the artistry, achievements and leadership of this acclaimed Madison, New Jersey-based performing arts and education organization."
The annual Main Stage season, presented in the intimate, state-of-the-art F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison, runs May through December. An Outdoor Stage production is presented each summer at The Greek Theatre, an open-air amphitheatre located on the College of Saint Elizabeth campus in nearby Morris Township.
The institution's staff of 22 full-time employees works year-round to produce the company's:
- Performance season
- Educational outreach activities
- Fundraising and marketing campaigns
- Various other programs and events
The company employs more than 250 members during the season and through its various Main Stage, Outdoor Stage and touring productions now plays to approximately 100,000 audience members each year, primarily from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Through
non-traditional casting and outreach efforts, the Theatre continues to build a culturally and geographically diverse audience.
Financial support comes from more than 1,500 individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations, including these major donors:
- American Airlines
- Bank of America
- The Edward T. Cone Foundation
- The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
- Drew University
- JPMorgan Chase Foundation
- The F.M. Kirby Foundation
- Mr. & Mrs. Dillard Kirby
- National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest
- New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State
- The Prudential Foundation
- The Shubert Foundation
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a member of:
- ArtPride NJ
- The Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA)
- Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
- The New Jersey Theatre Alliance
- Madison Arts & Culture Alliance
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is the largest professional theatre in Morris County. It is also the only independent arts organization in residence on the Drew University campus. Through the Theatre's involvement with the University, Drew has been able to offer theatre students the opportunity to enjoy an active relationship with New Jersey's only professional theatre dedicated to the classics.