Our Past Productions

Arts Midwest Announces 2016–2017
Shakespeare in American Communities
Including Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Grants Mark 14th Year of Bringing Shakespeare to Youth

logo nea 2016Minneapolis, MN/Memphis, TN – Arts Midwest today announced $1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit, professional theater companies across 26 states, plus the District of Columbia, to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare in American Communities.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company was announced as one of the 40 recipients (one of only six in the southeastern U.S.) for the third time in its history.  The grant will support TSC’s innovative and successful Romeo and Juliet Project in underserved Freshman high school classes in 2016-17.

The awards mark the fourteenth consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Each of the participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from at least 10 schools.  Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions.  Performances will take place between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.

Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare, benefiting more than 2.8 million individuals, including 2.3 million students, with live performances and educational activities.

Read more: Arts Midwest Announces 2016–2017 Shakespeare in American Communities Grants

Henry V

Henry V William Shakespeare's perfect wartime chronicle
in memory of Dan Copp
in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance
at the University of Memphis' Theatre Building
June 9-19, 2016

sponsored by 

FedEx Corporation logo     logo-university-of-memphis

Ann & Wellford Tabor, Pat & Ernest Kelly, Marian Kelly, and Martha Kelly


“we few, we happy few, we band of brothers”

Shakespeare’s rousing history crowns both young King Henry V as a warrior Legend and his rationale for waging war as a haunting moral ambiguity.  In his youth, young Hal spent his days in a band of pick-pockets led by the derelict fat knight Falstaff.   But having successfully defended his father-King in their country’s civil war, now King Henry decides France is his to take.  He conquers superior numbers abroad with soaring orations and wins a princess without a tongue for French. 

But at what cost?

At 10 minutes prior to each performance, Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary and/or the director will speak with the audience about the play and playwright.

Free Will Kids’ Nights are June 9 and 16:  Children 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian.  Limit: four children per guardian. For the safety of both small children and our actors, no babes-in-arms are permitted in the theatre for this production.

General Admission tickets are $34.  The Preview performances (only $16) are June 9 and 10 at 7:00 pm.  The opening night is June 11, and the price of your ticket includes a post-show reception with the actors.  Senior tickets (62 years and older) are $29, and Student tickets (18 years and younger) are $16.
NEW: This production features 30 seats available on-stage for each performance for only $10 each! There are 15 seats (in chairs on risers) on both sides of the playing space.

Free parking.  Title/cast/schedule subject to change, with notice.  Credit card charges require a $1 per-ticket processing fee.  No refunds/exchanges.

Join Us for our Newest Southern Literary Salon:
Ernest Hemingway in Key West
February 26

pic ernest hemingwayWe return to our popular Southern Literary Salon for a touch of the tropical during our Winter season.

TSC presents Ernest Hemingway in Key West inside and outside at Melia and Drew Murphy’s gracious Germantown home on Friday, February 26 from 6:00-8:00pm.

Sponsored by Tom’s Bar-B-Q, the evening features fun food, conversation, thirty minutes or so of readings from Hemingway’s works, and a bottomless tumbler of one of Hemingway’s favorite boat drinks.  Tickets are $55 and include all of the above while they last.

Curated and read by TSC founder and producing artistic director Dan McCleary, Hemingway in Key West will employ text from among Hemingway’s Key-inspired works, including A Farewell to Arms, To Have and Have Not, Death in the Afternoon, Winner Take Nothing short stories, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and the posthumously published Islands in the Stream.

“When Hemingway and second wife Pauline Pfeiffer of Piggott, Arkansas, moved to Key West in 1928, they were really in the middle of nowhere,” says McCleary.  “Closer to pirates and Cuba than the continental U.S.  In short order then, is second son was born, traumatically, and his father committed suicide.  Shortly thereafter, his masterwork A Farewell to Arms was published, establishing Papa’s literary legacy and inspiring him to use his time in the keys, and on the waters between there and Cuba and Bimini, to experiment with the American literary narrative form that would ultimately lead to his Nobel Prize.”

TSC’s Season Sponsors include Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund, Nancy Copp, FedEx Corporation, Independent Bank, International Paper, Rose M. Johnston, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Jr., Milton T. Schaeffer, Margaret and Owen Tabor, Ann and Wellford Tabor, and Tennessee Arts Commission.

Box Office Information

General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located within The Shops at Forest Hill at 3092 Village Shops Drive, Germantown, TN 38138 (near Target); by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org (Twitter: @tnshakespeare).

Salon performances are general admission.  Free parking.  No refunds or exchanges.  Credit card charges require a $1 per-ticket fee.  Programs and schedules are subject to change with notice.

“Requiem Birthsong for William Shakespeare”

on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of his passing

by Dan McCleary

(from Dan’s speech at this month’s TSC Gala)

“We see ourselves in the boy fishing for the first time.

In the woman much older now in her wheelchair.

We quietly revel in taking a moment to guide a young person we don’t know.

We all want to pass ourselves on.

We want to see ourselves in our leaders.

We want to see our values expressed in our city.

We need another person to reflect us.

But we also require the problem, the defeat, the death to take our focus from ourselves to others.

The plays of William Shakespeare are still produced more today, still read more today, than any other play. What he writes is intimate to him and personally developed. His craft, though, is in placing his focus on the self WITHIN his community, the religions that surround him, the political debates, the woods, the court, his country’s history, the world’s future, the cosmos.

As Shakespeare did 400 years ago this month, we will all die from this earth. We can have solace in this shared experience. These bodies, fellow travelers, will go. Ours are small material on a small planet in a galaxy of billions of stars among billions of other galaxies. Billions of years old and billions of years to go.

WE are finite.

Is it any wonder, then, that we all share an innate need to know ourselves, to know we must have an impact on the world and those around us and those to come. Of course. Of course we want to know how to act. Of course we feel the need to define ourselves, to make our little time on our little street huge and important and meaningful. Of course we need others to know us so we can feel we exist in the middle of the night when the rest of the street sleeps. Of course. So of course we construct theories and miracles and narratives that allow us to comprehend our existence and our passing.

For many of us, Shakespeare provides this narrative, but also the embrace of mystery.

In Shakespeare’s poetic world, the true prophets are often madmen, the blind, the outsiders, the poor, the clowns, the fools. In his world, women and those in the minority not only achieve equality, they often lead the narrative, they forgive the men, they sacrifice. In his world, monsters, fairies, and murderers cry to dream again, cry for forgiveness, cry for humanity. Shakespeare awakens them to their true selves. He appeals to our collective unconscious.

Over four hundred years ago, England turned to William Shakespeare to teach its history and its new language.

Now, you and I turn to Shakespeare to give us language to articulate what might be madness, what might be fantasy, what might possibly be peace. His endurance lies in his multiplicity of ideas and arguments, together with his poetic restraint from imposing his answers on them. The poet in him respects you and me 400 years after his death. You and I turn to Shakespeare in order to recognize the beauty in what is naturally so, to recognize our natural compulsion to human compassion.

You and I speak as we speak, think as we think, love as we love, act as we do (or don’t) in part because of William Shakespeare.

In this moment, we honor his time on Earth.

It is with this passion and spirit that Tennessee Shakespeare Company was born here, and why eight years later we steadily grow, seeking now a permanent home.
William Shakespeare is for everyone.

The End.”

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