Senators Announce $25,000 for Montana's Shakespeare in the Parks

Natl. Endowment For The Arts Grant Will Fund Performances And Workshops

(Washington D.C.) – The works of William Shakespeare will soon ring through the halls of high schools across Montana, thanks in part to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Montana's Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $25,000 grant for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks in Bozeman.  The money is part of NEA's Shakespeare for a New Generation program.  The money will be used to support workshop activities on the 16th Century playwright in addition to a 75 minute performance of Much Ado About Nothing at 50 middle and high schools in Montana, northern Wyoming and eastern Idaho.

"Shakespeare's words have shaped our history, inspired generation after generation of writers and captivated audiences for more than 400 years." said Baucus.  "This grant is right for Montana; it helps us educate our children, and creates unique job opportunities for professional actors, set designers and producers. Who knows, maybe the next Shakespeare is sitting in a classroom in Montana right now waiting to be inspired."

"This grant is going to open the door to a whole new world for a lot of Montana students and teachers," Tester said.  "It's important to read Shakespeare's plays, but it's important to experience them too.  This money will bring Shakespeare to life in Montana."

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been performing The Bard's works and other plays for 35 years.  The organization has performed for students since 1992 as part of its Shakespeare in the Schools program, and has received New Generation program grants from the NEA since they were first made available in 2003.

Since 2003 the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 175 Shakespeare in American Communities grants to professional theater companies to bring live performances of Shakespeare to schools across the country.  More than one million students have attended these productions.  The NEA also provides free Shakespeare multimedia educational kits to teachers.