Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Celebrates Its Fifth Year of Achievement and Expansion in Baltimore

Masquerade Gala and Pedestrian Bridge Ribbon-Cutting on November 9, 2019

BALTIMORE (October 23, 2019) – Five years after establishing a theater for the classics in a once-decaying corner of Downtown Baltimore, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is fulfilling its promise to be a dynamic performing arts resource for Maryland and a catalyst and leader in Calvert Street’s renaissance.

Since arriving in Baltimore in 2014, the theater company has doubled the number of performances it stages each year and produced the top-selling shows in its 17-year history, employing professional artists and technicians based here in the Baltimore–D.C. region. The downtown theater campus is a beacon that has attracted restaurant, apartment, and retail development to fully occupy Redwood Street for the first time in decades. As the classical theater of Maryland, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company annually presents eight professional productions of Shakespeare’s works and other plays of classic stature.

Building on a record of achievement cultivated first in Howard County, the company has expanded to become the region’s largest provider of theatre arts programming for K–12 students. Its school matinees and in-school residencies currently serve more than 16,000 students from Maryland, surrounding states, and the District of Columbia each year. Summer and year-round learning programs for both children and adults are now held in The Studio at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, opened in 2017.

On November 9, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company celebrates its steady progress with a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening a new pedestrian bridge that connects its award-winning, landmark theater with its education and office facilities next door to form a bustling theater campus at Calvert and Redwood Streets. The bridge eliminates the need to exit to the street while traveling from the stage to the classroom.

“Our goal has always been to serve as a vibrant community anchor and cultural keystone in the heart of the business district, fulfilling a commitment made to Baltimore when we moved our headquarters into the city,” said Lesley Malin, Managing Director of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. “We are tremendously grateful to celebrate not only our milestone of five years in the most beautiful theater in Baltimore, but also the expansion of our theater campus to link our offices and education programs to our performance space.” For visiting students, teachers, and patrons, as well as staff and business partners, the covered and disabled-access walkway is not just a symbol of progress, but a practical capital improvement for which the theater raised almost half a million dollars. Major funders include the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the France-Merrick Foundation, and the Abell Foundation. Fundraising overall for the company has increased 40 percent in the past year.

Masked revelers will lead the way when the theater community crosses the bridge for the first time during the November 9 ribbon-cutting and festivities, which will feature a reception and gourmet dinner; a private performance of Dracula, adapted by Steven Dietz from the novel by Bram Stoker; the cutting of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s 17th birthday cake; and dancing into the night on the Hughes Family Stage. Learn more and reserve tickets at https://www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com/masquerade/. Proceeds from the masquerade gala will help underwrite performances, sustain theatre artists, expand access to education programs, and support operations, as the company fulfills its mission of promoting performing arts, literacy, Shakespeare, and the renaissance of Downtown Baltimore. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is a 501(c)3 nonprofit professional theater.

Founded in 2002, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company first gained a loyal following in Howard County, where it continues to perform outdoors each summer at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City. In 2014, the company transformed the landmark Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Company building in the heart of Downtown Baltimore into an award-winning jewel-box theater. Expansion in 2017 added the historic Merchants Club building next door as home to administrative offices, The Studio at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, adult and youth education programs and summer camps, and rehearsal and performance space.

Media contact: Jane Coffey, Director of Development, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company 410-244-8571, ext. 107, coffey@chesapeakeshakespeare.com