Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is dedicated to performing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions that are presented free of charge to Boston’s diverse communities, and to educating Boston’s youth not only about Shakespeare but also about their own potential for creativity.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, best known for its annual free performances on Boston Common, is a non-profit organization founded in 1996, and dedicated to bringing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions to the people of Boston and to exploring Shakespeare's works with Greater Boston's youth in innovative and creative ways. In addition to the annual Boston Common productions, CSC presents several free play-reading events during the year: Theatre in the Rough, Shakespeare & Law as well as Shakespeare & Leadership. CSC fulfills its educational mission with actor-training programs for pre-professional actors with its Summer Academy. Throughout the year, CSC partners with area high schools and Boys & Girls Clubs to provide in and after-school theater activities to inner-city youth. Recent productions include Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well (2012 Elliot Norton Award-winner for Best Production, Large Theater), Othello and The Comedy of Errors. CSC is the Resident Theatre of Babson College.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents professional productions of Shakespeare to Boston audiences during the summer months when local theatre companies tend to be on hiatus from their regular seasons, but when there are record numbers of people in the city. Now entering its 20th season, CSC's Shakespeare on the Common has become an annual Boston tradition, modeled along the lines of “Shakespeare in the Park” in Central Park and the many other free outdoor summer Shakespeare events throughout the country.
Beginning in the summer of 1996, CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler collaborated with the City of Boston, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Mayor’s Office for Cultural Affairs to present a free outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Copley Square. This event was described by Ed Siegel of The Boston Globe as “fully engaging, with one of the most diverse audiences ever seen in Boston.” Midsummer was chosen as one of the top ten productions of 1996 by the Globe, and Mr. Maler received the Eliot Norton Award for his outstanding direction. Carolyn Clay of The Boston Phoenix wrote, “how proud it is for Boston to finally offer free Shakespeare.”
Following the success of Midsummer, CSC presented Romeo and Juliet at the newly renovated Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in August of 1997. Performing annually at the Parkman Bandstand -- centrally located, handicapped-accessible and accessible to all by public transportation -- CSC has become one of Boston's most attended annual arts events. Each summer CSC sees approximately 100,000 people on the Boston Common. In its 18 year history CSC has performed for over 1 million audience members! In September of 2013, CSC was named as the Theatre in Residence at Babson College.