Theater at Monmouth’s Shakespeare in Maine Communities Tour will go on, though not in person as in previous years, but streaming virtually, according to a news release from the theater in Monmouth.

Each fall and spring, the Theater at Monmouth sends adaptations of classic literature on the road for students in Maine and New Hampshire. Through ShakesME, TAM has provided literature-based education tours in schools and community centers since 2005. For 2020, “Measure for Measure” for grades 5-12 will be presented to deepen understanding of, appreciation for, and connection to classic literature.

Shakespeare’s strikingly current play speaks  about impossible moral choices in the story of the devout novice Isabella, whose faith is tested when her brother is sentenced to death for impregnating Juliet out of wedlock. When the outwardly virtuous leader Angelo propositions Isabella in exchange for her brother’s release, she must decide whether upholding her holy vows is worth her innocent brother’s life.

“Measure for Measure” will be available to schools and community venues Monday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Oct. 31. Dates can be adjusted to fit curriculum schedules. Because of COVID-19 concerns, ShakesME performances will be brought to schools via video with a Zoom post-performance discussion with the actors to follow.

TAM’s production is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Of getting the news that TAM had received the grant for the program, Producing Artistic Director, Dawn McAndrews said, “We are so grateful to ArtsMidwest and the National Endowment for the Arts for selecting Theater at Monmouth to receive the Shakespeare in American Communities grant for 2020-21. TAM has been a part of this initiative to bring Shakespeare to students throughout the country for seven of the past eight years.” TAM’s Shakespeare in Maine Communities is also funded in part by grants from the Onion Foundation, the Helen and George Ladd Charitable Corporation, and the Morton Kelley Charitable Trust. These foundations provide the funding for TAM to offer scholarships to schools to bring the arts into their communities.

Because of the impact of COVID-19, TAM staff was unsure about the ability to bring ShakesME to schools as they have for the past 15 years, especially after postponing the entire 2020 Season. “We were devastated to not be able to bring classic theatre to Maine this year, and felt we’d have to cancel the ShakesME Tour as well,” said Jordyn Chelf, TAM’s Marketing Associate. “Thankfully the support from Arts Midwest and several other foundations is making ShakesME possible.”

Theater at Monmouth has provided literature-based education programs in schools and community centers since the theater’s founding. Since 2005, TAM has taken the Bard on the road with Shakespeare in Maine Communities — featuring 60- to 90-minute adaptations of Shakespeare with five to eight actors. The target grade levels for this tour are middle and high schools; previous tours have reached more than 6,000 students annually.

For more information about TAM’s Education Tours, visit theateratmonmouth.org/education-tours or call 207-933-9999.