History


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (formerly called "New Jersey Shakespeare Festival") was established in 1963 in Cape May by Paul Barry and Philip Dorian.

In 1972, Dr. Robert Fisher Oxnam, then president of Drew University, invited the homeless company to take up residence at Drew University and make the Madison campus its permanent home.

In late 1990, Bonnie J. Monte became the theatre's second artistic director, and together with past managing director Michael Stotts began a major effort to strengthen and expand the company's profile and scope of activities.

The theatre's first home on the Drew campus was in the refitted Bowne Gymnasium. In the early 1990s, the company's management recognized that it must seek a new home or engage in a major renovation effort of its current home, in order to survive into the next millennium. After breaking ground on May 9, 1997, the company presented its 35th Anniversary season in three alternate venues, mounting an ambitious and successful "homeless season."

On June 12 and 13, 1998, the company launched its 36th season in its new home, with two spectacular opening night "unveiling" celebrations.

In 2002, the 40th season, the company inaugurated its new Outdoor Stage: The Greek Theatre, a beautiful open-air amphitheatre on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in nearby Morristown (at the Convent Station train stop).

In 2003, the company formerly called "New Jersey Shakespeare Festival" entered its fifth decade with a new name: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. The name was chosen by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees as one that better reflects the company's position as one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, and the state's only professional theatre company dedicated to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics. Having grown from a small, itinerant troupe in 1963 to the year-round operation that it is today -- a major institution acclaimed not only for the superb quality of our masterwork productions but also for our leadership efforts in the area of arts education -- the company has evolved beyond a seasonal "festival" to become the place for classic theatre in New Jersey.

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History

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