Skip to content

Shakespeare in American Communities

Shakespeare in American Communities provides grants of up to $25,000 that connect young people across the country to Shakespeare’s plays. Grants support performances and workshops in schools and in the justice system.


Eight people stand in a semicircle at the top of a stage, with their hands in the air and smiles on their faces. Behind them, there's a stage where people are performing with musical instruments and also have their hands in the air. The stage is set up with fake trees, grass, logs, and painted flowers, and there's confetti falling from the sky; all creating a Spring like vision.
Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

About Shakespeare in American Communities

Shakespeare in American Communities is a theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Through grants to theater companies that produce Shakespeare’s works, this program supports high-quality productions and educational activities in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile justice facilities throughout the United States. Arts Midwest accepts proposals annually starting with an intent to apply in January and deadline in mid-February.

One hundred and twenty theater companies and organizations across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since the program’s inception in 2003. Selected companies have presented 34 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, as part of the Schools program. To date, the program has supported more than 14,500 performances and 54,000 educational activities at more than 11,500 schools and juvenile justice facilities in 4,700 communities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

The program has two opportunities available for applicants. Visit How to Apply – Schools and How to Apply – Juvenile Justice for more information.

The application deadline has passed. Intents to Apply were due by Thursday, January 25th. Applications for the 2024-2025 cycle were due Thursday, February 8th.


In June 2024, Arts Midwest announced the recipients of $1.17 million in Shakespeare in American Communities grants, with $1 million going to 43 professional theater companies partnering with schools, and $170,000 going to seven organizations working with students in the juvenile justice system. These performances and educational events will take place between August 1, 2024 and July 31, 2025.


Accessibility Resources

Crediting and Visibility

Research and Evaluation

#artsmidwestshakespeare: Tag the program in social media posts. 

We will not require that you use the Shakespeare in American Communities logo in your marketing materials. However, if you’d like to use it (in addition to the required NEA / Arts Midwest logo lockup), you can download it here:


Who can apply for a Shakespeare in American Communities grant?
501c3 non-profit professional theater companies located in the U.S. or the Native Nations that share this geography that have a minimum of two years’ experience providing professional performances and related educational activities to middle and/or high schools.

What do organizations receive if they are selected to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities?
Selected organizations receive grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 to support their Shakespeare in American Communities programming.

Can we apply for both the Schools and Juvenile Justice tracks?
Yes, but there must be no overlapping programming or costs between the applications and budgets.

Is there a matching requirement?
For the School track, applicants will be required to demonstrate matching funds on a 1:1 basis for their requested grant amount. (For example, if an applicant requests a $15,000 Shakespeare grant, the total project budget must be at least $30,000.) Federal funds cannot be used as a match. Juvenile Justice track grantees do not have a match requirement.

Is the Intent to Apply required?
Yes. The Intent to Apply is due January 25, 2024. 


Shakespeare in American Communities is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. 


Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools

This opportunity is open to 501c(3) professional theater companies that have produced Shakespeare or classically-based repertoire within the last five years. Companies should have a minimum of two years experience providing both performances and related educational activities for middle and/or high school students.

Learn More + Apply

A crowd of students sitting on bleachers in a gymnasium watch a performance happening on the gym floor.
Photo Credit: Montana Shakespeare in the Parks

Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice

This opportunity is open to 501c(3) theater companies or organizations that have two years’ experience partnering with the justice system and engaging young people in theater education programs that illuminate the works of Shakespeare.

Learn More + Apply

In a classroom setting, a person wearing a protective cloth mask is leaning down and talking to a younger person who is holding sheets of loose leaf paper covered in writing.
Photo Credit: Esme Wu

Have questions about Shakespeare in American Communities?

We’re happy to answer any questions you have about Shakespeare in American Communities. If you’d like to talk to us we’re just an email or a phone call away. 

Contact Our Team