Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional, 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; produces a Southern-centric play/salon Festival (Southern Exposure), and provides year-round, innovative educational and training programming.
TSC's vision is to create and sustain a classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering our faith in life by increasing our awareness of reality and expanding our imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare’s works.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC) is the creation of native Memphians Dan McCleary (Producing Artistic Director) and national Disney Teacher of the Year, E. Frank Bluestein (Executive Director).
Dan is a former Associate Artistic Director, artist-manager, and Director of Marketing and Development at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires. In 2006 he began scouting sites in the southern United States to establish the Mid-South's only professional classical theatre, and he chose his hometown of Memphis.
In addition to Mr. Bluestein, Dan was joined by Father Gary Sturni of St. George's Episcopal Church, Mrs. Barbara B. Apperson, Mrs. Donna Ladd, and a committee of devoted individuals in making the preparation year possible. Almost all of those involved in that first committee meeting of January 2008 remain as founding Board members or supporters.
Since then, TSC has grown into a $671,000 (FY16) theatre and education organization that has performed, among other titles, As You Like It inside St. George's Church, an all-female Julius Caesar in City Hall, A Midsummer Night's Dream at the University of Memphis and the Poplar Pike Playhouse, Othello inside St. George's, Themes from a Midsummer Night (in collaboration with IRIS Orchestra) and Richard III at Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Macbeth and The Tempest outdoors at Shelby Farms, Romeo and Juliet on the roof of Dixon Gallery & Gardens and inside GPAC, and Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night inside the Dixon. TSC launched its inaugural new musical series last year in collaboration with the U of M and Broadway's Theatrical Rights Worldwide. Nearly 30,000 patrons have attended.
TSC's education program has grown at twice its projected pace, having served over 120,000 Mid-South school children from over 100 Memphis area and Southeast schools with Free Will Kids’ Nights, morning matinees, original touring shows, in-school playshops, free interactive Study Guides, and in-school residencies. The jewel of the program is The Romeo and Juliet Project, now entering its fourth year. The literacy and anti-violence Project sends teams of teaching artists into entire Freshman classes in a select Memphis area high school over multiple visits to get students on their feet speaking the text and relating the play’s life-lessons to themselves. The N.E.A. recognized TSC in each of the past two seasons as one of just 40 theatres in the U.S. to be awarded a Shakespeare in American Communities grant.
Dan McCleary (TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director) is a native Memphian and a graduate of Germantown High School and its Poplar Pike Playhouse. Dan directed and acted in TSC’s inaugural production of As You Like It as well as 400: The Shakespeare Feast, Richard III (title role), Unto the Breach, The Glass Menagerie and The Taming of the Shrew. He directed TSC’s All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, Unto the Breach, Hamlet, The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all-female Julius Caesar, Othello, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), and Themes from a Midsummer Night with IRIS Orchestra.
Dan is a published poet and teaches Shakespeare master classes around the country. Memphis Magazine has named him among the “Who’s Who in Memphis” each year from 2009-12, and the Germantown Arts Alliance honored him with its 2009 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Performing Arts. He holds a B.A. in Advertising and Journalism from Temple University.
The Romeo and Juliet Project is a 4-day residency that targets a high school Freshman population in an area that is nearly 100% underserved in Memphis, mostly Title One schools.
The Romeo and Juliet Project has two goals:
- To affect a positive and enthusiastic first impression of Shakespeare through playing the play, rather than the static study of the play, assuring students will forever be receptive to classical stories and the lifetimes of self-awareness, compassion, inclusiveness, and healing they provide.
- To use Romeo and Juliet, its characters, and its many pivotal decision moments as tools for young people to imagine life-saving choices in the face of armed violence, peer pressure, prejudice, and inadequate guidance.
TSC teachers get students up on their feet, living, speaking, and feeling the lives of the characters in the play. The fourth and final session is an intimate performance of the play performed by our cast of professional actor-teachers.
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Arts & Humanities
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1900 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104