Shakespeare LIVE! History

Since its inception in February 1997, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Shakespeare LIVE! educational touring company has performed for more than 600,000 young people in New Jersey, New York and beyond. Its productions have been hailed as innovative, visually stunning and accessible to students while maintaining the eloquent imagery and rich poetry that has made Shakespeare's plays compelling for over four centuries.

The program has evolved from humble beginnings, with 11 tours in its first season, to now well over 100 each year. No young person should graduate without having experienced the power of Shakespeare performed live on stage. Understanding this, the Theatre has endeavored over the years to build this program into an exemplary catalyst for learning and for creating an enthusiastic audience for the future.

In 2004, Shakespeare LIVE! was selected as one of just 22 theatre companies nationwide to participate in the Shakespeare in American Communities: Shakespeare for a New Generation program, an initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This prestigious award has been renewed almost every year since.

Mission & Philosophy

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has a long-standing commitment to the development and education of young audiences. By bringing the excitement of live performance directly into the schools, the Theatre presents young people with an intimate and captivating "front row seat" from which they can explore the world around them.

Unlike other entertainment mediums, live theatre is an immediate and personal art form which, by its very nature, invites the audience to become an active participant. Like a kind of alchemy, the magic of theatre transforms simple words and elements as basic as paint, rhinestones and glitter into glistening visions of the world. For a generation increasingly isolated by the internet and desensitized by a barrage of mass media images and sound bites, Shakespeare LIVE! offers an exciting alternative: experiences that are entertaining, enriching and interactive. We invite you and your students to experience Shakespeare in a whole new way with Shakespeare LIVE!

As we continue forth into the 21st century, the Theatre strengthens its resolve to not only educate, but to also inspire students and teachers alike. Included with each performance is a comprehensive Study Guide, designed by the Theatre's education staff to give students a deeper understanding of the classics and the particular work they are viewing -- a valuable tool for pre-show preparation and post-performance reflection. Following every performance, students are invited to participate in a lively post-show discussion with the artists, giving them a unique opportunity to express their thoughts and examine the work more deeply.