Actors’ Shakespeare Project and Mayor Thomas M. Menino Announce Plans For ASP’s 10th Anniversary
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For Immediate Release
March 14, 2013
Released By:
Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment
For More Information Contact:
Ryan McMahon

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will host Actors' Shakespeare Project (ASP) in the Eagle Room at Boston City Hall to announce plans for the organization’s 10th anniversary season. Mayor Menino will be announcing that ASP will kick off their 10th anniversary with a production of Romeo and Juliet in fall 2013, staged at Boston's Strand Theatre in Dorchester. The production will be co-directed by company member Bobbie Steinbach and ASP’s Artistic Director Allyn Burrows who are both thrilled to have the company return to Upham’s Corner, where the company staged Hamlet in the fall of 2006. 


“We’re proud to be hosting Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s 10th Anniversary kick-off at our very own Strand Theatre,” Mayor Menino said.  “The work of the talented staff at Actors’ Shakespeare goes a long way in helping the young people of Boston develop an appreciation and understanding of the arts.  I look forward to collaborating with them for many seasons to come.”  


Artistic & Community Initiatives Announced:  


"We're very excited to be collaborating with the city of Boston to produce Romeo and Juliet at the Strand Theatre, and in the spirit of that collaboration we're introducing the practice of co-directorship with company member Bobbie Steinbach and myself,” said ASP Artistic Director Allyn Burrows.   


ASP will continue its 10th anniversary season with Henry VIII, a story of political intrigue directed by the esteemed Tina Packer at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. Local favorite Melia Bensussen will direct ASP’s production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. And the springtime will bring us Shakespeare's pastoral comedy As You Like It, directed by ASP company member Robert Walsh.   


“The company, the community and the state are all well represented in this cross section of directors,” Burrows said. “We feel that it's fitting to our mission."    


ASP also announced a major community-based program for the 10th Season: "What's in a Name”.  This community-based artistic project is led by celebrated actor, director, writer and ASP company member Paula Plum, guest artist Sarah Hickler of Emerson College, and the ASP acting company.  “What's in A Name” will involve ensembles of artists, community members and youth from across Boston, Cambridge and Somerville creating new works that explore their names, oral and neighborhood histories and heritage in relationship to the text of Romeo & Juliet. The project will culminate in public performances and exhibits at The Strand Theatre and the Charlestown Working Theater during ASP’s production of Romeo and Juliet.  


“In our mission statement we affirm that Shakespeare's stories are urgently relevant to us today. By inviting stories based on names and family legacy, "What's In A Name" directly relates our individual family stories, our family myths and beliefs, to the stories of William Shakespeare” Plum said.  


Further, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon has invited “What's in a Name” to travel to the UK in June 2014, where Boston and Stratford artists and community members will revise and expand the project for performances at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sites as part of a celebration the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.        


$1.3 Million in special gifts raised for ASP’s 10th Anniversary from three funders: The 2013-2014 season marks the start of a five-year youth program residency at The Charlestown Working Theater (which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year). The Sarah Hancock Family committed $550,000 to help create a permanent youth room there for ASP’s year-round youth programming. With these funds, ASP will also be able to expand its teen programming, in concert with CWT, beyond the Shakespeare on the Out after-school production and Summer Youth Intensive.   


The Hancock Family is donating $550,000 for this initiative and named this new room ‘The Forest of Arden’.  “I am supporting the creation of an ASP youth room called the ‘Forest of Arden’ because I believe in the power of theater education, done well, to transform lives. It is my hope that this Forest of Arden for ASP at the Charlestown Working Theater will be a safe space for young people to find their voices, try out different parts, and discover what truly resonates – and from that, be forces for change and growth in their communities” says Sarah Hancock.  


The Margaret Stewart Lindsay Foundation also announced a gift. $250,000 is being donated to sponsor the acting company at Actors' Shakespeare Project over a five-year period.    


Brian Potts, Trustee, shared these thoughts:  “The trustees of the Margaret S. Lindsay Foundation recognize the importance of supporting excellent actors to inspire them... so they in turn will inspire all of us... "We are such stuff as dreams are made on..." and now more than ever... we all need to dream.”   


Actors' Shakespeare Project is also pleased to announce it will be expanding its presence at the Somerville Armory this year with the creation of a permanent rehearsal room for the company through a gift of $500,000 from the Parker Family Fund at The Boston Foundation.   


"ASP has earned our admiration with high quality productions and award-winning educational programs. As they enter their second decade, we are proud to support and strengthen the facilities used in their theatrical work," said Faith Parker, ASP board member and founding supporter of the company.  


Actors' Shakespeare Project thanks its partners and funders and looks forward to a larger presence across the city in this celebratory artistic season of 2013-2014.  


      About Actors’ Shakespeare Project:   Actors’ Shakespeare Project believes Shakespeare’s words are urgently relevant to our times. Working as an ensemble of resident company members, we bring these words into the voices, bodies, and imaginations of our actors, audiences and neighborhoods. Actors’ Shakespeare Project does this through creative projects, including intimate productions and outreach programs that are informed by the spaces in which they happen. These projects inspire civic dialogue, build relationships between people, strengthen communities, and reveal something about what it means to be human here and now.  


Upcoming Performances:  

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare directed by Bobbie Steinbach & Allyn Burrows October 2, 2013 - November 3, 2013 The Strand Theatre | Dorchester  


Henry VIII by William Shakespeare directed by Tina Packer December 11, 2013 - January 5, 2014 The Modern Theater at Suffolk University | Boston  


The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov directed by Melia Bensussen February 14, 2014 - March 9, 2014 Venue to be revealed  


As You Like It by William Shakespeare directed by Robert Walsh April 16, 2014 - May 18, 2014  Venue to be revealed  


For more information please contact Laura Sullivan, Director of Marketing and Communication for Actors' Shakespeare Project, at or 617-776-2200 x227    


About the Strand Theatre:   The mission of the Strand Theatre is to serve as a cultural and educational resource to artists and audiences regardless of race or cultural background, age, ability, gender, economic level, or sexual orientation. Central to the Strand's mission is the development and implementation of youth arts educations programs. The Strand Theatre has a special commitment to the surrounding communities of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.        


About the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events:   The Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events fosters the growth of the cultural community; promotes public participation in the arts and public celebrations; and advances cultural tourism in Boston.        

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