Gary Shakespeare Company

FREE Shakespeare for Northwest Indiana

Gary Shakespeare Company is a 501c3 Not-for-profit organization established in 2013. We are dedicated to bringing actors and audiences of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds together in the enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare and in the shared experience of live performance.

Re: Norman Caplan

To Whom It May Concern:

Norman Caplan was one of 6 co-founders of Gary Shakespeare Company in 2013 as well as a significant financial contributor supporting our first three productions.  In December of 2014 Norman Caplan stepped down from the GSC Board of Directors and all financial ties were severed.  From that time to the present, GSC has had no contact with Caplan on any matter.  GSC was not aware and is not involved with Caplan’s current theatre work in any way.

Gary Shakespeare Company is dedicated to bringing actors and audiences of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds together in the enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare and in the shared experience of live performance.  We seek to enrich the public spaces of Northwest Indiana with passionate, vivid performances that reflect and include our community.  Our recent production of As You Like It reached over 1000 audience members in 8 different venues across Northwest Indiana free of charge.

Mark Baer
President, Gary Shakespeare Company

Legacy Foundation Grant

In June 2016, Gary Shakespeare Company applied for a Lake County Legacy Foundation grant to support our purchase of a cargo trailer. 

We have been struggling throughout our existence to transport and deliver our performances to different audiences in different locations.  We have been using borrowed trailers, personal vehicles, and the labor of our company members to make this possible.  A new trailer will allow us to take our show to a wider variety of places.  IF we were able to have our name and logo on the side, it would also serve as a traveling advertisement for our work.

In July 2016 we were awarded $6350 by Lake County Legacy Foundation for the purpose of purchasing a cargo trailer!  This is our first major grant award and represents a large step forward for our organization.

As the award check did not arrive until mid-August, we decided to wait until spring 2017 to purchase our trailer, thus giving us time to research the best deal and also saving us the cost of rental and insurance over the winter months.

Brandon Hearne interviews with the Post-Tribune

1.  What is your name, hometown, and occupation?

Brandon Hearne, Gary, Currently a student at Indiana University Northwest, Employed with Theatre northwest and Chipotle.

2.  What is your theatre background?  Include as much information as you desire.

I have been studying theatre since my freshmen year in high school. I attended Emerson VPA and studied theatre there where i met the most amazing group of teachers and friends who encouraged me to keep pursuing theatre and do what makes me happy. I continued my studies in theatre when i went on to college where i am currently enrolled as a senior.

3.  How did you become involved with Gary Shakespeare and why?

I got involved with Gary Shakespeare through a professor who is now the president of the Board of Directors (Mark Baer). He said it would be a great opportunity and i have always had a passion about classical works like Shakespeare and Moliere; where the language could take you to places so distant but so i auditioned for the very first show the company ever had.

4.  What are the benefits you see in offering Shakespeare to the residents of Gary?

I think about this all the time; if it wasn't for this company being in Gary there would be hardly anything positive to come from this city. we would never have a theatre company that say it in the name where they are and no be ashamed of it. i think about the hundreds of kids and adults in the city that now have access to Shakespeare where if we didn't exist they would never see a Shakespeare play or have the chance to even be in one. i think it benefits students in high school and in college who want to try classical work but don't have the training and who want to work behind the scenes but no one will take the time at their local high school to allow them to. these are only a few things that the Gary Shakespeare company is able to offer, which in itself is more beautiful and touching than anything I've seen happen in this city.

5.  Have there been any negatives, that you've seen?

The only negatives i can see at this point is that we are only limited due to spacial issues to summer performances. I think that if we could find a way be it more funding or something it would only add to the incredible experience this company is able to give to the city.

6.  How can learning/watching/performing Shakespeare benefit people, in your opinion?

I think it can benefit people by simply introducing them to something they either had no clue was possible. I think as an actor it helps prepare you for any other style or technique you would use in your career. I always say if you can do Shakespeare you can do anything. It benefits learning because we get a touch of history and technique that cant be done over night but must be groomed into a persons way of acting. I think by watching you become more cultured which in the city of Gary is a huge thing because its not something we have happen very often.

7.  What's the best thing you have received from this experience?

I am the youngest person to sit on the Board of directors and that means more to me than anyone could ever understand. I get emotional just think that i an African american male and i am making a difference through Shakespeare and giving it back to my community and am doing so in a very positive way. It has made me humble to the fact that i am blessed with such a high position and have accomplished one of my goals in life already. And that is the best thing i could have ever received from this experience.

8.  What would you say to people who are considering attending a performance?

I would tell people considering attending a performance get ready for a great performance with the most talented group of new and old actors who are coming to act their hearts out just for you!


Interview with Donna Rettew of the Chicago Post-Tribune

1.  What is your Name, Town of residence, position and place of employment?

Mark Baer
Crown Point
Indiana University Northwest
Asst. Professor of Acting and Directing – beginning my fifth year

2.  How long have you been involved with Gary Shakespeare?  In what capacities?

I was a founding board member in 2013.  I acted in the first show, King Lear, in a small role.  Last summer I directed the company's third show, Twelfth Night.  In January of this year I was elected President of the Board.  This summer I am playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing as well as co-directing.

3.  Can you give me a brief history of GSC and how you have ended up where you are currently located?  I'll let you put that into your own words . . .

Gary Shakespeare Company was founded in 2013 by a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts who believe every citizen of the Steel City should experience live performance of Shakespeare's works. Like many beginning theatre companies, we were jumpstarted due to the generosity of an "angel," a financial supporter who believed in the potential of the company and had the means to invest in the initial necessary resources.  In 2014 we rented a space on Lake Street in the Miller Arts and Creative District and performed significant renovations.  During that year we were producing full time, offering classes and hosting special events.  Unfortunately, our angel moved on to other projects in December of 2014, leaving us without a home.  Our 2015 season would not have been possible but for the generosity of Indiana University Northwest.   They agreed to curate our company, sharing storage space, shop facilities, and allowing us access to their theatre for rehearsals and performances during the summer months.  Our vision is to continue to incubate our summer productions at Indiana University Northwest, with a groaning season of free performances in parks and other venues around Gary.  

4.  Why Shakespeare (other than because it's in the name)?  Why Gary?  What impact does the combination of the two have?

There is a delightful dissonance in the name "Gary Shakespeare."  Both words evoke strong reactions from many people, and both are misrepresented and misunderstood.  We believe that Shakespeare's language was written for everyone.  His poetry, when spoken with honesty and clarity, can touch anyone who listens. Just as you do not need to understand every word of a song in order to be swept away by its melody; such is the power of Shakespeare's words.  We also believe that the people of Gary are worthy and capable of greatness.  And so these two words that seem a contradiction to others, fit together like a glove for us.

5.  What are some favorite stories of the impact GSC has had in Gary?

Our first performance in Marquette Park last summer was pretty magical.  Our show had been built in our safe little theatre.  We had no idea if anyone would come, or if we would be drowned out by motorcycles and ignored.  Instead, a crowd gathered.  And stayed.  Over 100 folks, most of whom had never seen Shakespeare before, stayed for the entire performance!  That's when knew we had something special.

6.  What are future plans and/or offerings, that you can share with us?  

We plan to produce two shows next summer, but are still in the process of planning our season.

7.  Is there anything else you would like to add?

In addition to 3 more performances in Marquette Park, we will perform outdoors on the IU Northwest Campus on Wednesday, Sept 2 at 5pm and indoors on the Valporaiso University Campus on October 4 at 7pm.


New Beginnings, a fresh start!

Welcome to Gary Shakespeare Company's brand new site! Hope you all enjoy what our organization is trying to accomplish. Exciting new content will be added as it becomes available. Please bare with us as we continue to build our theatre.

We would love for you to come see one of our shows! Head to the ticket information section to find out more about pricing and how you can get tickets.

If you need to contact anyone in the organization, please head over to the contact tab above. This blog will help you keep track of what is going on in our organization. We will also be sharing articles, research, and other fun stuff. Thank you very much for stopping by!