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Our Mission

The mission of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is to engage and enrich both rural and underserved communities with professional productions of Shakespeare and other classics and, through educational outreach, to inspire creative expression and appreciation of the arts in young audiences.

Committed to Diversity

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is committed to fostering an artistic environment and educational mission that communicates to and welcomes all people regardless of race; religion; cultural affiliation; sexual orientation; or gender identity or expression in our work force and in our audiences. In fulfilling its role as a community-driven organization, MSIP strives to demonstrate these diversity principles with leadership, respect, and imagination.

MSU Outreach

As the State’s land-grant institution, a major component of Montana State University’s mission is to serve communities by integrating learning, discovery, and engagement and there are few programs like MSIP that exemplify MSU’s outreach effort better. Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is proud of its long history of service to the region and equally proud to represent  Montana State University  with these quality professional theatrical outreach efforts.

Go Bobcats!

Our History

Born from aspirations to bring the timeless tales of William Shakespeare directly to rural and under-served communities, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been enriching the lives of people in Montana, and beyond, for 52 years. Ushering Shakespeare’s immortal stories of life, love, and tragedy into a modern era, MSIP is dedicated to preserving the cultural traditions of theatre and literature.

Through this artistic expression, we provide lively entertainment that evokes smiles and laughter, alongside tears of joy and sorrow, to all people. Founded on the firm belief that Shakespeare belongs to everyone, our accomplished company of performers and staff work tirelessly to connect people, communities, and the arts, as we spread messages of unity and understanding.

In addition to our free summer tour, MSIP also provides robust educational programs through our Shakespeare in the Schools and Montana Shakes! programs, bringing interactive plays and workshops to thousands of students across MT and WY.

1970s History 1

Summer of 1973

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks opened its first season in the summer of 1973. The amateur acting company was comprised of a mixture of students and community members and was founded by Dr. Bruce Jacobsen. The company performed Shakespearean scenes only and the season consisted of thirteen performances in seven cities in Montana. The goal was to bring Shakespeare, directly to the people of Montana  who would not otherwise have the opportunity with an emphasis on underserved rural communities. The following summer, two full productions (The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice) were mounted by a paid professional company and staff. The season doubled to include 26 performances in 18 cities and the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Company as we have come to know it was born.


Award Winning

Since that time, MSIP has performed thousands of times to over three quarter of a million people becoming a mainstay of Montana culture. The company’s contribution to the cultural fabric of Montana and its unique ability to serve the most remote rural areas of the region has been chronicled by Montana PBS, NBC Nightly News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many others. In 1991, the company was named the recipient of the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, the highest honor that can be bestowed on an arts organization in our state.


Educating Montana Youth & Beyond

In 1993, MSIP launched its first educational outreach program in response to a growing interest from schools throughout the state. Shakespeare in the Schools (SIS) has grown from an initial pilot project featuring a presentation of Shakespearean scenes, to a full 75-minute production of a Shakespearean play performed by eight professional actors, complete with full costumes and set. SIS offers a 10-week tour to middle schools and high schools in communities throughout Montana and northern Wyoming. SIS is the only professional theatre company that brings an educational Shakespeare program directly into Montana’s schools and serves over 10,000 students, teachers, and community members each year with an emphasis on small, under-served rural communities

 Shakespeare in the Schools

Introducing Montana Shakes!

In the spring of 2008, MSIP initiated a 3-week pilot project specifically designed for elementary schools entitled MONTANA SHAKES! This program introduced Shakespeare’s language to K-5th grade students in an interactive & entertaining format with a 30-minute play featuring scenes from  A Midsummer Night’s Dream  performed by a company of three professional actors, followed by a “talk back” session with the acting company before breaking into age appropriate hands-on workshops. Based on the extraordinary success of the first season, in the spring of 2010 the company remounted it as an 8-week tour serving 40 elementary schools in Montana and northern Wyoming. The response again was enthusiastic and the tour is now a yearly event.

Montana Shakes!

Discovery The Magic

From its humble beginnings in 1973, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has grown from a limited summer tour by a very small company of dedicated artists with an annual budget of less than $15,000 to a year-round touring company managed by seven permanent staff members and a small army of seasonal employees whose annual budget is now over $1,300,000.

Audiences of all ages will discover the magic of Shakespeare through a progressive and inclusive lens, where universal truths of mankind are united through stories that stretch beyond space and time. In this infinite place, spectators become immersed in the eternality of the human condition and may just unearth reflections of themselves and their own humanity.

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Show History 1973-2022

Shakespearean Scenes
The Merchant of Venice/The Taming of the Shrew
A Comedy of Errors/The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Devil’s Disciple/Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona/The Servant of Two Masters
The Miser/A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As You Like It/Cyrano de Bergerac
The Rivals/Much Ado About Nothing
The Taming of the Shrew/The Doctor in Spite of Himself
The Merry Wives of Windsor/The Imaginary Invalid
A Comedy of Errors/The School for Wives
Twelfth Night/Tartuffe
As You Like It/The Would-be Gentleman
A Midsummer Night’s Dream/Volpone
Romeo and Juliet/Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Merchant of Venice/The Rivals
The Taming of the Shrew/The Miser
Much Ado About Nothing/Engaged
Twelfth Night/Scapina
Cyrano de Bergerac/The Merry Wives of Windsor
Henry V/A Comedy of Errors
Macbeth/The Country Wife
As You Like It/All’s Well That Ends Well
Julius Caesar/You Never Can Tell
The Learned Ladies/Love’s Labour’s Lost
A Midsummer Night’s Dream/The Winter’s Tale
Two Gentlemen of Verona/The Taming of the Shrew
Much Ado About Nothing/Measure for Measure
The Tempest/Twelfth Night
Henry IV, Part 1/A Comedy of Errors
As You Like It/She Stoops to Conquer
Romeo and Juliet/Tartuffe
The Taming of the Shrew/Cymbeline
The Winter’s Tale/Love’s Labour’s Lost
The Merry Wives of Windsor/Heartbreak House
All’s Well That Ends Well/Macbeth
The Tempest/Two Gentlemen of Verona
A Midsummer Night’s Dream/Julius Caesar
Much Ado About Nothing/The Merchant of Venice
Twelfth Night/Hamlet
Henry V/The Recruiting Officer
As You Like It/Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew/Cyrano de Bergerac
Richard III/A Comedy of Errors
Macbeth/You Never Can Tell
Othello/Love’s Labour’s Lost
Henry IV, Part I/The Merry Wives of Windsor
Cymbeline/A Midsummer Night’s Dream
King Lear / Twelfth Night
Measure for Measure/The Three Musketeers
Hamlet / The Winter’s Tale

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