| The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (formerly
called "New Jersey Shakespeare Festival") was
established in 1963 in Cape May by Paul Barry and Philip
In 1972, Dr. Robert Fisher Oxnam, then president of Drew
University, invited the homeless company to take up residence
at Drew University and make the Madison campus its permanent
In late 1990, Bonnie J.
Monte became the theatre's second artistic director,
and together with past managing director Michael Stotts
began a major effort to strengthen and expand the company's
profile and scope of activities.
|| The theatre's first home on the Drew campus was in
the refitted Bowne Gymnasium. In the early 1990s, the
company's management recognized that it must seek a new
home or engage in a major renovation effort of its current
home, in order to survive into the next millennium. After
breaking ground on May 9, 1997, the company presented
its 35th Anniversary season in three alternate venues,
mounting an ambitious and successful "homeless season."
On June 12 and 13, 1998, the company launched its
36th season in its new home, with two spectacular opening
night "unveiling" celebrations.
In 2002, the 40th season, the company inaugurated its new
Outdoor Stage: The Greek Theatre, a beautiful open-air amphitheatre
on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in nearby
Morristown (at the Convent Station train stop).
In 2003, the company formerly called "New Jersey Shakespeare
Festival" entered its fifth decade with a new name: The Shakespeare
Theatre of New Jersey. The name was chosen by unanimous vote
of the Board of Trustees as one that better reflects the company's
position as one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the
nation, and the state's only professional theatre company
dedicated to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics.
Having grown from a small, itinerant troupe in 1963 to the
year-round operation that it is today -- a major institution
acclaimed not only for the superb quality of our masterwork
productions but also for our leadership efforts in the area
of arts education -- the company has evolved beyond a seasonal
"festival" to become the place for classic theatre
in New Jersey.