18:00 PM

Ohio State to join with Lincoln Center in presenting England's Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011

COLUMBUS – The Ohio State University today announced it is joining with Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory to bring England's Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to the New York-based Festival, for an unprecedented six-week residency in July and August 2011.

The announcement was made at New York's Lincoln Center with Karen Bell, associate vice president and head of The Arts Initiative at Ohio State, and David Frantz, secretary of Ohio State's Board of Trustees, representing the university. Both were instrumental in creating the university's partnership with the RSC.

"This collaboration is wholly unique and combines our forces in a most effective way," said E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State president. "It is bold, it is entrepreneurial, it is grounded in intellectual currency, and it is reflective of this great university's leadership in arts and arts education."

The sponsorship opportunity for the university was created when the Wexner Family made a generous gift to the Royal Shakespeare Company America, to support RSC's 2011 visit to the U. S. The family requested any credit or visibility resulting from their charitable contribution be assigned to the university.

"I am so grateful to Les and Abigail Wexner for making it possible for us to take advantage of such an opportunity," said Gee. "The Wexners' personal support of the RSC enables Ohio State to create a new way to tell the world about our strengths and our accomplishments."

Although the Lincoln Center Festival in New York is the only venue where the full company will perform major productions, it is expected that members of the ensemble will visit Ohio State while in the U.S. There are tentative plans for company members to perform their Young People's Shakespeare productions of "Hamlet" and "The Comedy of Errors" in Columbus. Additional collaborative activities are still being explored.

"RSC's Young People's Shakespeare series presents highly praised, edited performances that are hugely popular with schools and families in the United Kingdom. We are pleased they want to come to Ohio as a continuing part of the RSC's partnership with our College of Education and Human Ecology and Department of Theatre," said Bell.

This sponsorship builds upon Ohio State's position as the only American university working with RSC's internationally acclaimed Stand Up for Shakespeare educational program. Currently partnering with Ohio STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) primary and secondary teachers, the program develops skills that enhance understanding of ambitious texts across all academic disciplines.

"We've been involved with Ohio State since 2008 when we established our U.S. partnership with the university's new Arts Initiative to promote and extend our Stand Up for Shakespeare program, sharing the active teaching approaches that have been implemented with great success in the U.K. with Ohio elementary, middle and high school teachers," said Michael Boyd, the RSC's artistic director.

"Ohio State's sponsorship is significant, and we are grateful for their faith in us and in this large undertaking," Boyd said. "We are confident that this sponsorship will increase awareness of the university's academic excellence. I know it furthers our partnership and our shared commitment to innovative teacher training. The strategic thinking behind the Wexner's generous contribution to RSC America enables their gift to benefit the residency, strengthen the partnership, and expand the visibility of a great university."

Other existing components of the relationship include master classes at the university by RSC artists and a summer residency for graduate theater students and local primary and secondary teachers at the company's Stratford-upon-Avon home.

The sponsorship also creates exclusive opportunities for the university to connect with its alumni – in particular the large number in the New York and tri-state area – during the RSC's residency, when five Shakespeare productions will be performed in repertory.
The 2011 visit will be the first time in its 50-year history that RSC will bring to the U.S. an acting company of 44, plus musicians, technicians and theatre artists—well over 100 artists—in a full five-play repertoire. The RSC will perform the repertory on a specially constructed thrust stage, which will replicate its theatre in Stratford.

For additional information about RSC New York residency: http://www.lincolncenter.org/Press_Release/Lincoln_Center_Press_Release_2_8_10.pdf

For background information about RSC and Ohio State: http://artsinitiative.osu.edu/rsc1209b