Delaware Shakespeare to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to Delaware Shakespeare which will support the 2019 Community Tour production of Romeo and Juliet. Challenge America grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Delaware Shakespeare is honored to be the recipient of this NEA Challenge America grant,” said David Stradley, producing artistic director of Delaware Shakespeare. “Our Community Tours bring professional theatre to the full spectrum of humanity in our community by traveling to non-traditional venues such as prisons, homeless, shelters, and mental health facilities. They have been transformative for the organization and for audiences. The national recognition and support for this program from the NEA is a welcome affirmation for the vital necessity of this work.”
During the first three years of the Community Tour, audiences have reacted very strongly to the love stories included in the plots of Pericles, As You Like It, and The Merchant of Venice. Del Shakes looks forward with great anticipation to audience responses to Shakespeare’s most famous lovers in Romeo and Juliet. In addition, the 2019 Tour venues will include some youth-specific audiences with aims of magnifying connections to the younger generation focused on in the play. Audiences such as teens at The Ferris School will share in reflections on Shakespeare’s conflict of youth violence between rival factions.
Romeo and Juliet will be directed by guest artist Lindsay Smiling, Hothouse Company member at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater and a veteran of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Set pieces will be created by Phillip Scarpone, Sculpture Area Head at Rowan University.
In 2018, Delaware Shakespeare expanded its Community Tour by a week, bringing the total number of free venues from 13 to 18, plus two ticketed performances, and plans to remain at this number for 2019.
While 2019 venues are still being set, past venues have included the Ministry of Caring/Sacred Heart Village (Wilmington), Christina Cultural Arts Center (Wilmington), First State Community Action Agency (Georgetown), CAMP Rehoboth (Rehoboth Beach), the Route 9 Library & Innovation Center (New Castle), the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans (Wilmington), Groves Adult High School – Red Clay (Stanton), the Latin American Community Center (Wilmington), Dover Public Library (Dover), Polytech Adult High School (Woodside), and the Delaware Psychiatric Center (Wilmington). Additional visits were specially arranged with Howard R. Young Correctional Institution (Wilmington), Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution (New Castle) and the Sussex Correctional Institution (Georgetown) and were not open to the public.
Video from past Community Tours can be found here: VIDEO: WBOC coverage of As You Like It at the Stockley Center, 2017. VIDEO: As You Like It, 2017. VIDEO: Pericles, 2016.
For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
This information was distributed as a press release on February 27, 2019.