NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers

The deadline for the 2018 NEH Summer Institute has passed. For up-to-date information please email

This summer, Theatre for a New Audience will host 25 middle and high school teachers from across the country for Scholarship and Performance: Teaching Shakespeare’s Plays.  This in-depth professional development program uses a carefully integrated approach to explore text-based scholarship, contextual and original source material, language, and performance in three Shakespeare plays under the guidance of leading Shakespeare scholars and theatre practitioners.  The Institute will be held at Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, NY. 

Today, the study of Shakespeare remains at the heart of scholarly investigation, public performance, and literary study in middle schools and high schools, colleges and universities. These three components are linked in Scholarship and Performance: Teaching Shakespeare’s Plays in an organic approach that will deepen teachers’ familiarity with primary source material and historical context, enrich their understanding of textual analysis and performance (and the relationship between the two), and enhance their ability to identify and teach common literary themes across a variety of Shakespeare’s plays. In doing so, the Institute aims to improve research and pedagogical practice, as well as to enliven the study of Shakespeare.

The theme of the 2018 Institute is “Debating the Nation: Imagined Communities in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, and King Lear.” The Institute will focus on national identity at both the macro (global) and micro (domestic) levels in comedy and tragedy, with an emphasis on approaches to these issues that incorporate recent exciting work on globalization, gender, politics, and domestic life, as well as research in other interdisciplinary fields.  Participants will examine how questions of communal and national identity were framed in Shakespeare’s own era in light of pressing social, political, economic, and intellectual developments in Britain. Issues of communal and national identity are not only of historical and literary interest; they also are central to contemporary debates about the relation between nations and larger geopolitical structures; about what constitutes citizenship; about immigration and attitudes towards foreigners; about the role of government in regulating regions, localities, or households; and about who has a say in answering such questions.


Dates:  July 16-27, 2018
Location: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Brooklyn, NY
Sponsor: Theatre for a New Audience
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018 (postmark deadline)
Notification Deadline:   March 28, 2018
Deadline to Accept/Decline:  April 6, 2018
Eligibility:   Middle and high school teachers.


folio-2016Shakespeare’s First Folio

TFANA_logo24 copyPolonsky Shakespeare Center

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Pictured above: Participants in the 2017 NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers; Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto.