Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare will bring hundreds of teenagers from 10 different high schools to the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18. The four-day festival marks the culmination of the nine-week program that places Shakespeare & Company education artists in high schools in Berkshire and Hampden counties in Massachusetts as well as and Columbia County in New York.
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare was the subject of a two-year study by students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In summarizing the research, the students recommended replication and adaptation in every high school in the nation. The festival has inspired long-running similar programs in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and DePauw University in Indiana. Replications are taking shape in San Diego, California; Toronto, Canada; Long Island, New York; and Portland, Maine. The ethics and aesthetics of the festival have influenced teachers from nearly every state through support from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.