Mission & History

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare on the Common 2004.


Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) is dedicated to artistic excellence, accessibility, and education. We present plays of the highest artistic caliber that celebrate ideas and language to create dialogue around compelling issues of our time.  We eliminate barriers – physical, economic, and cultural – to bring live theater to audiences throughout Greater Boston.  We cultivate in young artists the value of community engagement, and collaborate with educators to bring literature to life in the classroom.


At Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, we believe . . .

Theater as Engagement

We believe in the power of live theater to bring diverse communities together to spark conversations, to engage around important issues of our time, and to celebrate our own stories and of those different from our own.

The Power of Shakespeare

We believe in Shakespeare’s epic scope and foundational influence; that his language, stories, characters, and themes bind us together in a shared cultural legacy – still relevant in our current time – and illuminate the essence of human nature.

Artistic Excellence

We believe artistic excellence, measured by critical, popular, and peer response, is achieved through collaborating with great artists -from Boston and beyond -and providing them a nurturing environment that fosters their creative ambitions.


We believe that by eliminating established economic, physical, and cultural barriers, we can ensure that everyone has access to world-class performances, thereby returning theater to its communal roots.


We believe in experimentation and collaboration between teachers and artists to demystify Shakespeare and the artistic process, foster empathy with others, strengthen critical thinking skills, and help students find their own personal resonance with great works of literature.


We believe training the next generation of actors encompasses teaching not only practical skills, but the values of a strong work ethic, high standards for personal excellence, and a commitment to civic responsibility.

Financial Management

We believe that in order to create powerful performances and transformative educational programs we must provide our staff and artists with the resources needed to do their best work, and that is only possible with fiscal strength and long-term sustainability.

The Tempest, 2000


Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents professional productions of Shakespeare to Boston audiences during the summer 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 27th season, CSC’s Free 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 city.

Beginning in the summer of 1996, CSC Artistic Director, Steven Maler and Trustee and co-founder Joan Moynagh 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 Elliot 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 welcomes approximately upwards of 50,000 people to our shows on the Boston Common, and over the past 25 years CSC has performed for over 1.4 million audience members!

Featured Photo: Faran Tahir (Oberon) and Siobhan Brown (Titania) in A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare on the Common 1996.

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