Zounds! DC's Shakespeare Theatre Is 2012 Tony Award-Winning Regional Theatre

By Kenneth Jones
01 May 2012

On the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, is the 2012 recipient of the Tony Award for Regional Theatre. The company is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.



STC presents a variety of work on two stages, freely mixing Shakespeare and other classic writers from world stage literature, with American and English-language writers including Eugene O'Neill, George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde and others.

On May 15, a new production of Carlo Goldoni's 18th-century comedy The Servant of Two Masters begins at STC's Lansburgh Theatre. On June 12, Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor begins at Sidney Harman Hall Forum.

Read the earlier Playbill.com story about titles in the company's upcoming 2012-13 season.  STC is under the leadership of artistic director Michael Kahn and managing director Chris Jennings.

Kahn said in a May 1 statement, "I am so honored to have the work of the Shakespeare Theatre Company recognized in this way. This is a very touching tribute to have the work of all of the artists and staff who have been a part of our 25-year history acknowledged. We are so thankful to our board of trustees, supporters and patrons who have helped shape us into the artistic institution that we have become."

According to notes on the company's website, the organization was originally named the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Its first production, Romeo and Juliet, directed by Kahn, opened in 1986. After six years in residency, the organization changed its name to The Shakespeare Theatre and moved mid-season to a new performance space: the larger 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre located in Washington's Penn Quarter neighborhood. In 2007, after three years of construction, STC opened Sidney Harman Hall which features 774 seats and a flexible stage that can accommodate theatre, dance, music and film. The Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall comprise the Harman Center for the Arts, a hub of activity that showcases STC and outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations.

Among STC's initiatives are its Free For All program, established in 1991, and Happenings at the Harman, created in 2007. They give residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy free or low cost performances.

According to STC, during the past 25 years, STC has:

  • Produced and hosted nearly 150 productions
  • Played to more than 2.5 million audience members
  • Attracted some of the world's greatest talent, including Avery Brooks, Stacy Keach, Marsha Mason, Sir Patrick Stewart and Richard Thomas
  • Presented free Shakespeare to more than 630,000 residents through Free For All, a beloved annual local tradition
  • Produced almost the entire Shakespearean canon, including rarely-produced classics such as Cymbeline and Pericles
  • Hosted award-winning international performances, including Phèdre, The Great Game: Afghanistan and Black Watch
  • Uncovered and produced ten "new" classical works, including David Ives' hit adaptations of The Liar and The Heir Apparent, through the ReDiscovery Series
  • Welcomed almost 11,500 guests to Happenings at the Harman, which showcases talented artists in the Washington, DC, community
  • Received more Helen Hayes Awards for producing plays than any other local theatre
  • Earned accolades including the Washington Post Distinguished Service Award, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC's Public Humanities Award and the Mayor’s Arts Award

Engaged more than 200,000 students and educators through its arts education program Visit shakespearetheatre.org.