The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is another cultural treasure in the city. On Monday, November 10th, it received the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The accolade was presented at an official ceremony in the East Room of the White House honoring the nation's top creative youth development programs. First Lady Michelle Obama named Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as one of the award's twelve recipients, in recognition of CPS Shakespeare!, the Theater's arts-in-education partnership with Chicago Public Schools.
Representing the Theater at the ceremony were the program's co-creators, Marilyn J. Halperin, Director of Education and the Ray and Judy McCaskey Education Chair, and Kirsten Kelly, Director of CPS Shakespeare! Prosser Career Academy junior Jennifer Guadalupe Gonzalez, a two-year alumna of CPS Shakespeare!, was selected as the student representative to speak about the impact of the program on her personal and academic development. The annual program invites CPS high school students and their teachers to create an original Shakespeare production. A team of professional CST artists guide the participants through a five-week rehearsal process that culminates in two performances on Chicago Shakespeare’s mainstage in the Courtyard Theater.