Partner Spotlight: The Mission Behind Tony Award-Winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Partner Spotlight: Q&A With Hannah Kennedy, Public Relations Manager of Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago’s very own regional Tony Award-winning theater, nestled in the iconic Navy Pier, has “redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be.” Presenting year-round, Chicago Shakespeare Theater exemplifies a model of unity: putting education and community at the forefront of its mission. Learn more about CST’s programming and initiatives and meet Hannah Kennedy, public relations manager of CST.

Make It Better: Briefly describe your business philosophy.

Hannah Kennedy: Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be — a company that defies theatrical category.

Which product (or service) that you offer is your favorite, and why?

This regional, Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as 20 productions and 650 performances — including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe.

Tell us about how your business gives back to the community and which organizations or initiatives you’re most passionate about supporting. Why is that important to your organization?

Chicago Shakespeare’s productions are enjoyed by 225,000 audience members annually, with one in four under the age of 18. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work, and in touring its own productions across five continents, has garnered multiple accolades, including the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award. The theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of English and drama teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of their students each school year. Over the summer, the company tours a professional production of Shakespeare’s work, free for all, to neighborhood parks across the city.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour visits neighborhood parks across the city all summer long, with free shows for the community.

How has your business adapted to support the demands of consumers for more sustainable and socially responsible products and services?

Emblematic of its role as a global theater, the company spearheaded Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016, celebrating Shakespeare’s legacy in a citywide, yearlong international arts and culture festival, which engaged 1.1 million people. In 2017 the theater unveiled The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare — with its innovative design that has changed the shape of theater architecture. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, The Yard positions Chicago Shakespeare as the city’s most versatile performing arts center.

We believe that we’re all better together. Tell us which businesses or individuals in the community you love to work with and support.

Among myriad partnerships and collaborations, we work extensively with Chicago Public Schools and schools across the region, the Chicago Park District, the City of Chicago, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Choose Chicago, and Navy Pier.