Friday, December 28, 2018

Thank You for an Amazing Year of Shakespeare!

-William Shakespeare

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Nebraska Shakespeare, a huge thank you to everyone who played a part in making our 2018 season such a memorable one! 

From our amazing audiences and donors who came to our shows this year, to the company members (cast, crews, design and production teams, front-of-house volunteers and staff) who showed such incredible talent and energy...we are grateful to ALL of you for caring about this 32-year-old community tradition and contributing to its success. You make Nebraska Shakespeare happen!

Between all of our programs, we had 51 performances all together! This included two plays we had never performed before, Edward III and King John (a Nebraska premiere!), as well as some of our favorites: Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night's Dream !

Needless to say...a lot of great Shakespeare happened this year. So, thank you again for a fantastic season, and we can’t wait to share what the 2019 season holds for everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Message from Sarah Brown

Dear Friends,
For the past 32 years, Nebraska Shakespeare has been thrilled to work with countless talented actors. Since Shakespeare wrote so few parts for women, however, we have only had the opportunity to work with a small percentage of local and national female artists. In our 33rd year, Nebraska Shakespeare is focusing on a Female Forward season, offering opportunities to more female artists than ever before.
Over the past three seasons, Juno's Swans, our all-female performance program, has presented The Taming of the Shrew, Richard 3 and Julius Caesar to rave reviews. This summer, Nebraska Shakespeare is honored to welcome Juno's Swans to the Shakespeare On The Green stage in 2019, presenting All’s Well That Ends Well
Pairing with All’s Well will be one of the favorites: Hamlet. This production, directed by NS veteran Dr. John Hardy, will unearth the heart of Shakespeare's most famous play, exploring a broken family surrounded by a politically unstable country. John's commitment to thoughtful, engaging, and exciting Shakespeare will make this a production you definitely do not want to miss! 
Nebraska Shakespeare's Mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions and immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. Season 33 will be no exception. Every Juno's Swans performance concludes with a discussion, allowing our audience to discuss the themes, relevance and gender exploration of All's Well. And Shakespeare's most complex character, Hamlet, allows audiences to approach questions of action, consequence, duty and morality like no other character can. 
Nebraska Shakespeare is able to create these dynamic experiences FREE to our community because of generous supporters like you. I would be honored if you would contribute to our #AllsWellThatStartsWell campaign to jump-start this very important 2019 season.
We cannot wait to share this exciting season with you! See you On The Green!

Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks- 
Sarah Brown 
Interim Artistic Director


Photo 1: Juno's Swans 1st production of The Taming of the Shrew.
Photo 2: Year Two - Richard 3
Photo 3: Juno's Swans 2018 - Julius Caesar
Photo 4: An interactive discussion is held following every performance.


Photo 1: Casey Kizziah performed as NS’s very first Hamlet in 1988.
Photo 2: Hamlet (Bradford Farwell), along with Marcellus (Terry Brennan) and 
Horatio (Kristopher Gordon Kling) in 2001.

Photo 3: Marcus Kyd as Prince Hamlet in a contemporary production in 2011.
Photo 4: Our most recent Hamlet, Matthew Olsen, with Chloe Armao as Ophelia in the 2016 tour.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare Welcomes Katie Becker Colón As Director Of Education

Colón’s Prior Roles Provide Expertise for Nebraska Shakespeare’s Expansion Plans

(OMAHA, NE, November 15) Nebraska Shakespeare is proud to announce and welcome Katie Becker Colón as the organization’s Director of Education. Colón joins Nebraska Shakespeare’s full-time staff with over 10 years of experience in arts education in Chicago, Virginia, and Albuquerque. Colón will be responsible for developing relationships with educators and school administrators, hiring and training teaching artists, as well as directing and shaping the curricula and teaching processes for Nebraska Shakespeare’s educational programming to meet the needs of the learning communities the organization serves.

“We are thrilled to welcome Katie to the Nebraska Shakespeare staff,” says Interim Artistic Director, Sarah Brown, “Her intelligence, empathy, tenacity, and generosity will be transformative assets for our programming as well as the greater Nebraska community. This company is very excited to support and learn from Katie as we continue to grow and deepen our work as artists and humans.”

Colón joins the Nebraska Shakespeare team from Albuquerque, NM, where she acted as Director of Education for Duke City Repertory Theatre and created three educational programs: Classrooms Alive!, an educational tour that brings curriculum-based theatre to schools across New Mexico; Imagine Action Conservatory, a two-week summer program; and The Art and Craft of Acting, an adult education program for business professionals and theatre artists. Colón’s work as a teaching artist for the past three seasons of Nebraska Shakespeare’s educational touring program, Shakespeare On Tour, and as guest speaker for the organization’s summer Scholars Forums and Camp Shakespeare programs have allowed her to gain familiarity with Nebraska Shakespeare’s current curriculum, the communities served, and the opportunity to work with thousands of students across Nebraska and Iowa. 

As Director of Education, Colón will continue Nebraska Shakespeare’s success in providing educational opportunities to students across the state. Colón comments, “As an actor and educator for both Shakespeare On the Green and Shakespeare On Tour, I have seen the powerful relationships that NS has forged with communities across the state of Nebraska. I am thrilled that I will learn to strengthen those relationships and build new ones as we move into the 2019 season. The productions are top-notch, the personnel are generous and hard-working, and the impact of Shakespeare is more important and necessary than ever before. What a great year 2019 is going to be!”

About Nebraska Shakespeare
Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Interim Artistic Director, Sarah Brown; and the Board of Trustees, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums. For more information, visit


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement

Help NS Ramp Up for 2019

Nebraska Shakespeare has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 27, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the US) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. 

Nebraska Shakespeare has joined the #GivingTuesday movement for the second year because we believe the global movement is very powerful. We believe that sharing our talents with others is the most fulfilling way to use them. The movement allows us to share our story with others and encourage the spirit of giving to grow greater than ever before. This #GivingTuesday our goal is to fund expanding the experiences we offer to our audiences at Shakespeare On The Green and during our Shakespeare On Tour season.

Being a part of the #GivingTuesday community also provides the opportunity to share the Nebraska Shakespeare story with a wider audience to gain followers while at the same time generating support for our upcoming productions: Hamlet, All's Well That Ends Well, and Othello. Our #AllsWellThatStartsWell campaign launches on November 27, 2018.

Those who are interested in joining Nebraska Shakespeare’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit

92Y − a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back − conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2017, the sixth year of #GivingTuesday, millions of people in over 150 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $300 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.
For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Meet Lysandre from A Midsummer Night's Dream: Bianca Phipps

A Midsummer Night's Dream is on tour now! For this #MeetTheCompanyMonday, we've got Bianca Phipps (@biancaphipps), who is playing Lysandre and Snug the Joiner.

Bianca currently lives in Chicago, IL, but was born in San Clemente, California and was raised in San Antonio, Texas.  This is Bianca's second tour with Nebraska Shakespeare and she loves meeting all the different sorts of people in each community to which we travel.

When not performing, Bianca loves learning about true crime (her favorite podcast is "My Favorite Murder!"), poetry, cross-stitching, playing dungeons and dragons, and snacks.

In her own words: 

Q: What is your overall goal as an artist? 
"My artistic goal is to create & bring life to stories that allow everyone to see all parts of themselves." 

Q: How do you relate (or not) to your character? 
"I think Lysandre and I are both quick to action (for better or for worse)! We love our person, and would do anything to protect them. We're both pretty stubborn and headstrong. I have, thankfully, never been under a fairy's influence!" 
Q: What is telling about you or your life that one may not get from your bio? 
"I love to write! Poems, fiction, campaign plots for my D&D group: I just love to tell stories."

Get further insight into a day in Bianca’s acting life when she takes over Nebraska Shakespeare’s Instagram (@NEShakespeare) tomorrow.

And be sure to see her in A Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall as part of Shakespeare On Tour. For a list of public performances, visit

Monday, September 17, 2018

Meet Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream: Sarah Vishnev

It's the final week of rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream On Tour, and time for another #MeetTheCompanyMonday! This week, it’s Sarah Vishnev (@vish_the_bish), who is playing HIppolyta and Titania in Midsummer!

This is Sarah's first production with Nebraska Shakespeare. Sarah is a first generation American (she's fluent in Russian!) born in Neptune, NJ. She calls Brooklyn, NY, her home now. 

Sarah is a self-proclaimed weirdo. And when not onstage, Sarah can be found hiking, exploring new cities, road-tripping, or petting a dog.  

In her own words: 
Q: What is your overall goal as an artist? 
"To evoke thought through art and to bring communities closer together." 
Q: What are you excited about for this season On Tour? 
"Any time I get the chance to do Shakespeare's work, I keep digging up clues he left behind and I'm starting to believe the discoveries are bottomless. I'm interested to see what we'll uncover this time."
Q: Guilty Pleasure?  
"Pull and Peel Twizzlers"

Get further insight into a day in Sarah’s acting life when she takes over Nebraska Shakespeare’s Instagram (@NEShakespeare) tomorrow.

And be sure to see her in A Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall as part of Shakespeare On Tour. The first of six public performances is this Saturday, September 22 - 7 PM, at Creighton University. For a list of public performances, visit

Monday, September 10, 2018

Meet Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Josh Ryan

We’re jumping into week two of rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream On Tour, so it‘s time for another #MeetTheCompanyMonday! This week, it’s Josh Ryan (@oneduckful), who is playing Theseus and Oberon in Midsummer!

Josh has worked with Nebraska Shakespeare for six years. He is a Nebraska native, originally from Columbus, and now lives in Omaha.

Josh spends his time offstage playing music, reading and listening to audiobooks, watching movies, and is an avid fan of comics and animation (some of his favorites include Batman, Pokémon, The Ninja Turtles, and the films of Don Bluth, Chuck Jones, Aardman Animation, Pixar and Studio Ghibli). He is constantly building his personal library of books, films, and albums.

In his own words: 
Q: What is telling about you or your life that one may not get from your bio?“I’m fascinated with the world’s various cultures and religions. I dedicate a good deal of my free time to the study of these.” 
Q: Would you consider yourself more quirky or conventional?“Quirky fo sho. It’s more fun! I think most people are quirky at heart, but some people are just afraid to let it show, which is such a silly thing to be afraid of.” 
Q: How do you relate to Midsummer, or what is your favorite part of the play?“I totally relate to the foolish things people can do in the name of love. I adore the mechanicals and I’m also a fan of the scene where the four lovers get their love drunk quarrel on.”

Get further insight into a day in Josh’s acting life when he takes over Nebraska Shakespeare’s Instagram (@NEShakespeare) tomorrow.

And be sure to see him in A Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall as part of Shakespeare On Tour. For a list of public performances, visit

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Sneak-Peek of the Costumes from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Here's a preview of the costumes for the 13th season of Shakespeare On Tour, A Midsummer Night's Dream, designed by Lindsay Pape.

Bottom and  Fairy, played by Katie Becker Colon
Demetria and Starveling, played by Sarah Brown
Hermian and Peter Quince, played by Raydell Cordell III
Egeus, Puck, and Philostrate, played by Abraham Ntonya
Helenus and Flute, played by Matthew Olsen
Lysandre and Snug, played by Bianca Phipps
Theseus and Oberon, played by Josh Ryan
Hippolyta and Titania, played by Sarah Vishnev
See the costumes in person during the On Tour production of A Midsummer Night's Dream this fall!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Shakespeare On Tour Returns for its 13th Season with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Touring Nebraska and Iowa September 21 through October 27

NEBRASKA – Nebraska Shakespeare is proud to present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of its “Shakespeare On Tour” program. Now in its 13th season, “Shakespeare On Tour” travels to schools and communities throughout Nebraska and Iowa to bring Shakespeare’s work to thousands of students and families annually.

Directed by Ezra Colón, the fully staged 75-minute production will tour more than 30 middle schools, high schools and communities, including many underserved communities where a professional production of Shakespeare’s plays is not regularly made available.

Workshops, including acting, language, movement, and theatrical design and technology, are being made available to students who would like an opportunity to work directly with Nebraska Shakespeare’s professional teaching ensemble. Audiences will also participate in interactive discussions following each performance.

The following public performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are being held. 
  • Creighton University (Lied Performing Arts), Omaha NE | Saturday, September 22, 7 PM – Free to the public
  • Golden Husk Theatre, Ord, NE | Saturday, September 29, 7:30 PM – $15 for adults, $8 for students
  • Fontenelle Forest, Omaha, NE | Saturday, October 6 – Free to members, with admission to non-members
  • Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha NE | Tuesday, October 16, 6 PM – Free to members
  • Valentine, NE (at Valentine High School) | Sunday, October 21, 6 PM – Free to the public
  • Ainsworth High School, Ainsworth NE | Tuesday, October 23, 7 PM – Free-will donations accepted 
Touring performance study guides are available for teachers and include activities and additional area for study. Please contact Sarah Brown for bookings and questions at 402.689.7614 or by email at, or visit

For photos, full media kit, and a full list of Shakespeare On Tour productions, please contact Wesley Houston, Director of Communications, at, or visit

The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents “Shakespeare in American Communities”. Nebraska Shakespeare is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. 

The following schools are among those to be reached by the 2018 season of “Shakespeare On Tour”. 
  • Alice Buffet Middle School, Omaha, NE
  • Bellevue West High School, Bellevue, NE
  • Clarinda High School, Clarinda, IA (NEW)
  • Cozad High School, Cozad, NE
  • Garden County Jr./Sr. High, Oshkosh, NE
  • Lexington High School, Lexington, NE
  • Lexington Middle School, Lexington, NE
  • Lincoln Bryan High School, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln High School, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln North Star High School, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln Northeast High School, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln Science Focus Program, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln Southeast, Lincoln, NE
  • Lincoln Southwest, Lincoln, NE
  • Morton Middle School, Omaha, NE
  • Mount Michael Academy, Elkhorn, NE
  • Omaha Benson High School, Omaha, NE
  • Omaha Burke High School, Omaha, NE
  • Omaha Central High School, Omaha, NE
  • Omaha Northwest High School, Omaha, NE
  • Omaha South High School, Omaha, NE
  • Ralston High School, Ralston, NE
  • Rock County High School, Bassett, NE
  • Valentine High School, Valentine, NE
  • Wahoo High School, Wahoo, NE

Scenes from the Shakespeare On Tour production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be featured at Nebraska Shakespeare's fundraiser gala, "A Wild Thyme in the Garden on September 27, 2018.

For more information about Shakespeare On Tour or the gala, visit

Monday, September 3, 2018

Meet Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Katie Becker Colón

It’s the first rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream On Tour and we think it's time you get to know the talented actors and artisans traveling across Nebraska and Iowa this year. First up is Katie Becker Colón (@kbcwomanoftheworld), who is playing the roles of Bottom and a Fairy in Midsummer.

This is Katie’s third season with Nebraska Shakespeare. Katie is originally from Topeka, Kansas, but now lives in Albuquerque, NM.  

Katie is an avid reader - usually reading a book a week - loves to travel, cook, hit a mid-week movie, or keep up with anything to do with British royalty. When not performing, Katie manages her own health and wellness business and is a proponent of kombucha and regular trips to the gym.

In her own words:
Q: What excites you about returning to Nebraska for Midsummer?
“The stellar company, playing the role of Bottom which few women get to play, and eating my weight in golden milk ice cream at Coneflower Creamery”

Q: How do you relate (or not) to your character?
“My role was written for a person of a different gender. But I like that Nick Bottom is trying to make something the best it can possibly be. Even if she steps on some toes while she does it.

Q: What is your goal as an artist:
To inspire others to live a full and brave life.

Get further insight into a day in Katie’s acting life when she takes over Nebraska Shakespeare’s Instagram (@NEShakespeare) tomorrow. And be sure to see her in A Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall as part of Shakespeare On Tour. For a list of public performances, visit

Friday, August 24, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare Announces its Gala, “A Wild Thyme in the Garden”

OMAHA, NE - Nebraska Shakespeare announces the organization’s 2018 gala, “A Wild Thyme in the Garden” in Omaha to be held on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the spectacular Lauritzen Gardens.

The event will honor Nebraska Shakespeare co-founder and 32-year supporter, Marian Andersen. The evening begins with cocktails coupled with the opportunity to explore the beautiful gardens, encountering enchanted scenes from Shakespeare’s beloved “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The event culminates with a delicious autumn-inspired, farm-to-table dinner and program emceed by local celebrity, Rob McCartney, that showcases Nebraska Shakespeare’s continued impact on education.

“A Wild Thyme in the Garden” is an opportunity for the Nebraska community, Shakespeare supporters and friends with an interest in arts education to give back to the thousands of students reached annually by Nebraska Shakespeare’s year-round educational programming. Nebraska Shakespeare Galas have attracted a diverse and aware audience of Shakespeare enthusiasts, community leaders and advocates for arts in the classroom. Nebraska Shakespeare demonstrates the power of collaboration and support to bring arts-based education and programming to people across the region, including those in underserved communities.

“In collaboration with our generous sponsors, the NEA, NAC, Creighton University, and UNO, as well as educational leaders across the state, ‘Shakespeare On Tour’ has grown to serve over 10,000 students annually,” said Executive Director Mary Ann Bamber. “Funding raised through this gala will directly fuel expansion of the diversity and numbers of students served. Through their own words, students find the tailored tour performances and workshops to be engaging, thought-provoking and relevant to the character-defining decisions they make daily." 

For information, sponsorship opportunities, tables and tickets, contact Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber, at (402) 280-2391 or by email at, or visit

“A Wild Thyme in the Garden” is supported by Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts, the Hawks Foundation, Omaha Steaks, and feature sponsors: Don Wurster and Joan Gibson, Northern Natural Gas, and Ann and Ken Stinson, who are serving as Corporate Chairs for the event.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare sees a change in artistic leadership

After completing the 32nd season of Shakespeare On The Green, Vincent Carlson-Brown has left the position of Artistic Director for Nebraska Shakespeare to pursue a doctorate degree and expand his career path beyond Nebraska borders.

Vincent Carlson-Brown passionately contributed his vision and talent to Nebraska Shakespeare for 19 years, acting first as an intern while a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and ultimately serving as the Artistic Director for the 2018 season.

Nebraska Shakespeare intends to utilize this opportunity to reassess the needs of the organization and the communities it serves prior to holding a search for a new Artistic Director.

Sarah Carlson-Brown will serve as Interim Artistic Director during the transitional period. Sarah Carlson-Brown has been a part of Nebraska Shakespeare for 18 years; she has served variously as an educator, director, Associate Artistic Director and, in 2013, was named the full-time Director of Education. In 2016, Sarah Carlson-Brown launched Nebraska Shakespeare’s all-female production program, titled “Juno’s Swans”.

“We thank Vincent for his many contributions”, says Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber, “and wish him well as he pursues his professional and personal goals.”

Saturday, June 30, 2018

In The News: Nebraska Shakespeare's punk-tinged 'King John' rules

by Betsie Freeman | World Herald Staff Writer

Who said Shakespeare has to be traditional or, worse, dull and ponderous?

For better or worse, the Bard has that reputation in some circles. But that opinion certainly wasn’t shared among the common folk who attended his plays in the 1600s. And it’s certainly not true among many of the inventive and forward-thinking purveyors of his works in 2018.

You can count Nebraska Shakespeare among those innovators.

On the heels of its fresh and fun “Much Ado About Nothing,” the company on Thursday premiered “King John,” a riveting and somewhat subversive take on one of William Shakespeare’s more obscure historical plays.


Friday, June 29, 2018

In The News: Shakespeare On The Green Continues with King John

by Corbin Hirschhorn | KVNO News

Russell Daniels as King John

Saturday, June 23, 2018

In The News: Life and love are a beach in Nebraska Shakespeare's creative 'Much Ado About Nothing'

by Betsie Freeman | Omaha World Herald Staff Writer
You might think a guy who’s several centuries old couldn’t surprise you.

You would be wrong.

Nebraska Shakespeare’s novel approach to “Much Ado About Nothing” proves that the old Bard — aided by director Susan Baer Collins — has lots of tricks left. The show premiered Thursday at Elmwood Park.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

In The News: "Everything to know about this year's Shakespeare on the Green"

by Betsie Freeman

Behold the tale of a real-life king.
John, King of England, ruled from 1199 to 1216. His story will be told at this year’s Shakespeare on the Green, which starts Thursday and runs through July 8. It shares the bill with the festival’s opening play, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

In The News: Shakespeare on the Green Returns with ‘Much Ado’

by Corbin Hirschhorn

Sarah Carlson-Brown as Beatrice and Eric Parks as Benedick
Photography by Chris Holtmeier, Foton-Foto

Friday, June 1, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare was chosen as one of 40 theatres across the nation to participate in “Shakespeare in American Communities”

Omaha, NE (June, 2018) – The 2018 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, produced by Nebraska Shakespeare to travel to schools and communities this fall as a part of the organization’s Shakespeare On Tour program, has been chosen to participate in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’. Arts Midwest announced on May 31 the recipients of $1 million in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ grants to 40 nonprofit professional theater companies from 27 states and the District of Columbia. This year marks 16 years of the program which supports female directors, under-served audiences, and innovative youth programming.

Selection for ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ made it possible for Nebraska Shakespeare to produce The Taming of the Shrew for the inaugural season of Shakespeare On Tour in 2006, and has helped the program to continue to expand. “’Shakespeare in American Communities’ made it possible for our 2017 On Tour production of Romeo and Juliet to expand to six weeks of performances,” says Director of Education, Sarah Carlson-Brown. “This allowed the tour to offer a record number of 42 shows and over 85 educational activities. This production performed for over 60 schools and communities and reached a record number of over 10,000 students in a single season!”

Participating companies will present plays by William Shakespeare to student audiences along with educational activities including in-school residencies, workshops, and post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019. The awards mark the sixteenth consecutive year of ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Since the program’s inception in 2003, ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ has introduced 2.9 million middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare through performances and educational activities.

“Arts Midwest is thrilled to continue our long partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts connecting youths with the transformational power of Shakespeare through shared live performance and educational experiences created by America’s finest theater companies,” said Adam Perry, Arts Midwest’s vice president for strategy and programs. “Discovering Shakespeare’s cannon inspires students from all backgrounds across America’s cultural landscape to dream, love, explore and create new futures in epic Shakespearean style. The ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ grant awards bridge the past to the present where leaders of the next generation are discovering that tomorrow is indeed, promised to all.”

One hundred and eleven theater companies across the United States have taken part in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ since 2003. These companies have presented 33 Shakespeare plays through 11,300 performances and 41,500 educational activities at more than 10,000 schools in 4,300 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Each year, thousands of students have an opportunity to experience Shakespeare performances and educational activities through ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest are committed to expanding access to the arts to audiences across the country.”

The following 40 theater companies have been selected to participate in the program for 2018-2019.
  • A Noise Within, Pasadena, CA 
  • The Acting Company, New York, NY 
  • Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Somerville, MA 
  • Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery, AL 
  • Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA 
  • American Players Theatre, Spring Green, WI 
  • American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA 
  • Aquila Theatre Company, Katonah, NY 
  • Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA 
  • California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley, CA 
  • Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Baltimore, MD 
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL 
  • Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Boulder, CO 
  • Dallas Theater Center, Dallas, TX 
  • Folger Theatre, Washington, D.C. 
  • Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland, OH 
  • Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN 
  • Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT 
  • Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Cold Spring, NY 
  • Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise, ID 
  • Kentucky Shakespeare, Louisville, KY 
  • Lantern Theater Company, Philadelphia, PA 
  • Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Bozeman, MT 
  • Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville, TN 
  • Nebraska Shakespeare, Omaha, NE
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
  • Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando, FL 
  • Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Center Valley, PA 
  • Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA 
  • Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C. 
  • The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Florham Park, NJ 
  • Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Memphis, TN 
  • Theater at Monmouth, Monmouth, ME 
  • Theatre for a New Audience, New York, NY 
  • Trinity Repertory Company, Providence, RI 
  • Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, UT 
  • Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga, CA 
  • Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT 
The list of companies can be found at

About Nebraska Shakespeare On Tour
Nebraska Shakespeare strives to bring Shakespeare to new audiences. Shakespeare On Tour, which encompasses over 90 communities, is a large part of achieving this goal, reaching an average of 33 schools annually and serving over 88,000 students in the past twelve years. Shakespeare On Tour demonstrates Shakespeare's universal human conditions to students. Special focus is given to making the language of Shakespeare clear and understandable. Theatrical techniques in expressiveness, physicality, analysis, rhythm, and theatrical design are incorporated to entertain students and bring continued relevance to Shakespeare's words. Now in its 13th season, Shakespeare On Tour will take A Midsummer Night’s Dream to schools and communities in September and October of 2018. The majority of performances will take place in schools, and the performance can be staged in a variety of settings including gymnasiums, classrooms, community centers, public parks, and intimate community theaters.

About Nebraska Shakespeare
Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Interim Artistic Director, Sarah Brown; and the Board of Directors, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums. For more information, visit

About Arts Midwest
Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 30 years. For more information, visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Shakespeare On the Green pairs popular comedy with a Nebraska first

Omaha, NE (May, 2018) – Shakespeare On The Green (SOTG) returns for season 32 with the popular comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, and the regional premiere of King John. Both productions are free and open to the public.

Kicking off the season, Much Ado About Nothing will be performed at 8 p.m. on June 21-24 and July 5 and 7. A one-night only after-dark, “Moonlight Much Ado” performance will be performed at 10 p.m. on July 2. King John will be presented at 8 p.m. on June 28-30 and July 1, 6, and 8.

Shakespeare on the Green is located next to Omaha’s Elmwood Park, the entrance is just south of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Bell Tower. Parking is available on UNO’s campus. The public is encouraged to arrive early with blankets and lawn chairs to get a good spot on the green. Concessions and souvenirs will be available.

Each performance will be preceded by a range of family-friendly activities, including food and souvenirs; Shakesperience! – educational and interactive activities for kids; Scholars Forums where artists discuss Shakespeare’s text, production, and relevant contemporary topics; and entertainment by Madrigali et al.

The witty comedy of romantic misunderstandings, gossip, and false rumors, Much Ado About Nothing, was previously produced On The Green in 2008, 1997, and 1989. In the play, Benedick and his friend Claudio return from war and become reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite a more combative courtship. Taking place in a 1950’s villa and inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, this year’s production will be a “merry war” of wits that is sure to delight.

Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Susan Baer Collins, who also directed the 1997 production. Collins says of the production: “Welcome to our fabulous house party on the Mediterranean Coast! In this time of peace there is much to amuse: elaborate feasts, masquerade balls, moonlit dances, and party games. But be aware: this seeming paradise may prove claustrophobic, as residents tend to conduct their business by gossip, spying, and pretense. It’s human nature to gossip, to hide the truth, to mask our real feelings. Sometimes we invent alternative facts, or pretend to be someone we’re not. Truth is revealed by unmasking, a brave undertaking that requires self-reflection and an open heart.”

“Let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me."Much Ado About Nothing (Act 1, Scene 3)

Epic battles, illegitimacy, and the struggle for power set the stage for King John, being performed for the first time for Nebraska and Shakespeare On The Green. Richard the Lionheart is dead. His brother, John, has become King of England. The French King wages war in support of Arthur’s (John’s nephew) claim to the throne. Meanwhile, another member of the royal bloodline is discovered – Richard Lionheart’s bastard son – who joins the fray.

King John is directed by Vincent Carlson-Brown, Artistic Director for Nebraska Shakespeare. Carlson-Brown says of the production, “This play expresses madness: personal and systemic. At times it may seem like those in power are at a form of child’s play. In turn, ordinary human lives are irrevocably impacted by the absurdity of extreme religiosity, political machinations, and the arrogant putting-forth of an individual’s personal agenda.” Set in a warring 12th century England – but re-imagined through a contemporary eye – this play will be one-part “Game of Thrones”-inspired intrigue, combined with a rock soundtrack and designer fashion.
“Be great in act, as you have been in thought”King John (Act 5, Scene 1)

Shakespeare On The Green is admission-free. $30 suggested donations to the event support Nebraska Shakespeare’s year-round performances and programming.

For the VIP experience, patrons can become a donating Member and receive special benefits at each Shakespeare On The Green performance.

Membership Opportunities:
$100 Green Level members receive ground seating for four people, front and center, at Shakespeare On The Green.

$250 Bronze Level members receive VIP chair seating for four at Shakespeare On The Green and shuttle service to the park.

$500 Silver Members receive all Bronze level perks, plus reserved parking for one vehicle at Shakespeare On The Green.

$1000 Gold Members receive all Silver level perks, plus two additional chairs and attendance at the Cast Welcome Event.

$2500 Platinum Members receive all Gold level perks, plus use of the Party Tent prior to a performance at Shakespeare On The Green (accommodates 30 guests).

$5000+ Sponsor status for a Nebraska Shakespeare performance or event.

Additional information about the 2018 season of Shakespeare On The Green and membership opportunities can be found at or by emailing

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Artistic Director, Vincent Carlson-Brown; and the Board of Directors, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Discussing Midsummer

We visited our friends at Ballet Nebraska, who are making final preparations for their upcoming performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk about the different approaches to the story between their production and our production for Shakespeare On Tour this fall.

Check out the video of both organizations' Artistic Directors talking Shakespeare:

You can also learn more about the Shakespeare On Tour production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Governor Proclaims April 23rd as Talk Like Shakespeare Day

The Governor proclaims April 23rd as Talk Like Shakespeare Day across the state of Nebraska: 

Omaha, NE (April, 2018) – Pete Ricketts and citizens of Nebraska have joined theatres and communities around the country to celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday by declaring April 23rd as Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Shakespeare’s writing has impacted novelists and poets, and his influence extends from literature to present day movies, philosophy, and the English language itself.

To commemorate these contributions, Nebraskans are invited on April 23rd to have fun by including Shakespearean words or phrases into everyday speech, to read a Shakespearean play, or try their hand at writing a sonnet. Talk Like Shakespeare Day is part of a month-long celebration of Shakespeare’s writing hosted by Nebraska Shakespeare. In addition to the holiday, the month’s activities include a sonnet writing competition and a staged reading, on April 22nd, of the rarely-produced Edward III.


Ongoing through April:
The Anne Dittrick Sonnet Writing Contest offers adults, middle school students, and high school students the opportunity to learn to write a Shakespearean sonnet. Winning authors will receive prizes and have their sonnets featured at Shakespeare On The Green.

April 22nd, 3 PM, at Corkscrew – Blackstone:
Join Nebraska Shakespeare as a team of talented actors explore Shakespeare’s Edward III, followed by an interactive discussion.

April 23rd
Speak’st thou with love on thy lips and full life in thy heart! The Governor proclaimed April 23rd (Shakespeare's Birthday) as Talk Like Shakespeare Day across the state! Celebrate Shakespeare's language with tips and activities for the classroom, at work, or just for fun throughout the day!

Additional information about Talk Like Shakespeare Day, including tips and activities, as well as the other events celebrating Shakespeare’s writing can be found online at or by emailing

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Artistic Director, Vincent Carlson-Brown; and the Board of Directors, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Celebrate Shakespeare's Writing all April Long!

Starting on April 1st – just in time for National Poetry Month – submissions will be accepted for the 21st annual season of the Anne Dittrick Sonnet Writing Contest.

With adult, middle school, and high school divisions (and no entry fee), everyone can participate! Winning sonnets will be featured at Shakespeare On The Green and authors will receive prizes or tuition-free attendance to Camp Shakespeare. Learn More...

Our friends at the Omaha Community Playhouse are presenting a re-imagining of how mistaken identities, ruthless scheming, backstage theatrics, and a misbehaving dog inspired Shakespeare to write his famous tale of star-crossed lovers.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film by Tom Stoppard and adapted by Lee Hall, Shakespeare in Love is a love letter to the stage and a celebration of theatre, music, and human connection. Learn More...

King Edward III – quick-tempered, arrogant and self-serving – attempts to steal the throne of France, as well as the beautiful wife of the Earl of Salisbury.

Corkscrew – Blackstone 

A part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, Edward III was published anonymously in 1596. A consensus is emerging that the play was written by a team of dramatists including Shakespeare early in his career – but exactly who wrote what is still open to debate. Join us as at Corkscrew – Blackstone as a team of talented actors explore the text and discuss the debate in authorship. Learn More...

Speak’st thou with love on thy lips and full life in thy heart! The Governor proclaimed April 23rd (Shakespeare's Birthday) as Talk Like Shakespeare Day across the state!

Celebrate Shakespeare's language with tips and activities for the classroom, at work, or just for fun throughout the day! Learn More...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Let us show you what YOU can do

It is easy to see the intricately detailed costumes and impressive looming stages your donations have funded to create the world for Shakespeare On The Green. What is less visible, however, are the people whose lives are affected. Did you know that every $100 donated provides admission-free attendance for five people this summer at Much Ado About Nothing and King John? You can play a role in the over 500,000 people who have started the tradition of enjoying beautiful language and timeless stories with their family and friends.

Your impact won’t stop in the summer, though. Donors like you have grown Nebraska Shakespeare from a beloved summer event that presents plays in the park, to an organization that provides year-round entertainment and education to the region. Along with the two summer productions, the constantly-growing education programs, Shakespeare On Tour and Camp Shakespeare, engage thousands of students in fun and supportive environments.

Every $100 dollars donated reaches 14 students, many of whom have never seen a live performance before. And every $1,500 dollars reaches an entire school! Last year, Shakespeare On Tour reached over 10,000 students and earned accolades from students, teachers, and parents. The program continues this fall with an exciting production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream because donors like you make it possible. 

We hope you will consider donating to Nebraska Shakespeare to let us show you what you can do.

or learn more about donor benefits

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Midsummer Night's Dream Cast

Katie Becker Colón  Bottom, First Fairy
Sarah Carlson-Brown  Demetria, Starveling
Meredith Casey  Titania, Hippolyta
Raydell Cordell III  Hermian, Quince
Abraham Ntonya  Puck
Matthew R. Olsen  Helenus, Flute
Bianca Phipps  Lysandre, Snug
Josh Ryan  Oberon, Theseus

A changeling child. A magical haunt. A dark moon. Transforming love, stolen hearts, and twisted dreams. This is Midsummer.
In Athens, a place that thrives in darkness and breeds fear, it is impossible to hold on to love or light. Escape, into a forest of hobgoblins and fairies with upside down magic of their own, is the only chance of liberation. This production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream presents oddities and mischievous lore through which gender-swapped lovers, Lysandre, Demetria, Helenus, and Hermian, must navigate, confronting heartbreak in every shadow to uncover a true love that is precious, delicate, and rare.