LENOX

Shakespeare & Company's annual high school Fall Festival of Shakespeare is a place where, as the Bard himself would say, "All the world's a stage."

This Saturday, Shakespeare & Co. will host a benefit gala and alumni reunion events on its campus in celebration of the festival's 25th anniversary season.

"The Fall Festival of Shakespeare -- 25 years of stories and dramas larger than life," said Kevin G. Coleman, Shakespeare & Co.'s director of education in a written statement.

"Nearly 250 full productions, sets, lights, songs, dances, comedies, music, riots, battles, histories; 8,500 costumes, 15,000 students, laughter, lots of laughter, swords, daggers, tears, heartbreak, tragedies, two generations of participants and the most beautiful poetry, and still the best plays ever written.

A Monument Mountain Regional High School student performs in a 2006 production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’
A Monument Mountain Regional High School student performs in a 2006 production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ (Photo by Kevin Sprague/Shakespeare & Co.)
We couldn't be more proud," he said.

Coleman will be honored Saturday, along with the others who have helped him develop and run the company's flagship arts-in-education program, which began in 1988. It has since garnered national recognition and much local acclaim from students, parents, schools and the community.

Saturday's events also will include a 10 a.m. common class for alumni and friends, lunch, a discussion with Coleman, and an evening of dinner, performance and celebration.

The Fall Festival places Shakespeare & Co. education artists in 10 local and regional schools, where they lead students on a nine-week exploration of how Shakespeare's plays relate to their own lives and "hold a mirror up to nature," while becoming engaged with all technical and administrative aspects of putting on a theatrical production.

The 10 participating schools this year include Lee High School, Lenox High School, Taconic High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, North Andover High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Chatham High School (New York), Taconic Hills High School (New York), Springfield Central High School and Monument Mountain Regional High School.

The students will perform at their schools and, in the final week, gather in a spirit of celebration to perform their plays for the public in a four-day, non-competitive festival at the Tina Packer Playhouse on the company campus in Lenox.

Tickets to Saturday's 25th anniversary season kick-off and benefit range from $21 for alumni to $2,500 for a table of underwriters. Learn more at shakespeare.org or call (413) 637-1199.