Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies Wins Mass Humanities Grant for Community Shakespeare 2019-20

Jessica Bauman
Jessica Bauman

The Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies has been awarded a Mass Humanities grant in support of the Center’s Community Shakespeare seminars. Mass Humanities receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The grant supports the artistic residency of Jessica Bauman, director of Arden Everywhere based in New York City. This residency is integral to the center’s community class seminar titled “Journeys and Discoveries.” This seminar brings together the Renaissance Center’s adult-learning community with the communities of Christopher Heights Assisted Living in Northampton and the Northampton Senior Center to investigate the theme of Shakespeare and immigration throughout the year.

The course, developed by Marie Roche, department of English, investigates new ways of seeing and experiencing as a traveler does in their quest to uncharted territories, as our imagination is in and of itself, a doorway to new and unforeseen lands, encounters and self-discoveries.

While in residence, Bauman will offer a series of workshops at all three locations in an effort to connect often-overlooked stories of refugees and immigrants with Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Through these workshops, community members will create a theater piece based on their experiences and backgrounds, engaging with Shakespeare’s themes of exile, escape and homecoming in an effort to give voice to stories of immigration in the Pioneer Valley.

“Marie Roche has built an extraordinary adult-learning community at the Center by way of her creative and energetic teaching,” says Professor Marjorie Rubright, director of the Kinney Center. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to expand the breadth of Community Shakespeare programming and to support Roche’s celebrated teaching by way of this Mass Humanities grant.”

Community Shakespeare seminars are offered each semester free of charge to the public. For over a decade, these seminars have explored wide-ranging topics, including: Shakespeare in Translation; Shakespeare’s Body Deciphered; and Science in the Renaissance.

For more information about the research, arts and public programming at the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, please visit: and follow the Kinney Center on Facebook @massrenaissance.