University of Texas at Austin Shakespeare at Winedale program receives challenge grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

AUSTIN, Texas—The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $200,000 challenge grant to the Shakespeare at Winedale program at The University of Texas at Austin.

Shakespeare at Winedale has committed to raising $800,000 in non-federal funds to match the four-to-one challenge to produce a project total of $1 million over four years. The grant will go toward establishing an endowment to fund the continuing, long-term success of the program.

"We are very excited to receive this kind of recognition at the national level," said Dr. James Loehlin, director of the program, which was founded in 1970 by English Professor James B. Ayres. "It will be a big challenge to raise the matching funds, but this grant will allow future generations of students to learn about Shakespeare by actually performing his plays."

The endowment will help pay for an English Department summer course on the grounds of the Winedale Historical Center in Round Top, Texas; the Educational Outreach program, which introduces Shakespeare and performance to disadvantaged youth in local elementary and middle schools; and the international exchange that takes the Winedale class to England and brings British Shakespearean actors to perform in the Winedale theater barn.

Begun more than 30 years ago, Shakespeare at Winedale uses performance as a teaching tool for understanding Shakespeare. It is not a theater-training program, but one that encourages performance as a way of learning.

The awarding of the grant is part of a $3 million campaign to expand the program and shift Shakespeare at Winedale from dependence on individual contributions to secure funding through an endowment.