The international association of theaters producing Shakespeare’s plays has chosen Baltimore as the site of its annual conference for 2017.
An estimated 200 theater professionals are expected to stay a week in downtown Baltimore to discuss issues of artistic vision and leadership, management and education programming. The Shakespeare conference typically takes place in January, but dates for the 2017 meeting have not yet been set.
“The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will be in the center of the international conversation about Shakespeare and performance,” said Ian Gallanar, founding artistic director of the Baltimore-based theater company. “This is so important for the city; it highlights Baltimore’s significant place as an internationally recognized cultural center.”
The Shakespeare Theatre Association formed in 1991 to serve the artistic, managerial and educational leaders of theaters that produce works by William Shakespeare and related education programming. Its members represent Shakespeare festivals and theater companies in America from Hawaii to Harlem, and across the globe in Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Australia and beyond.
“We are honored and delighted that the Shakespeare Theatre Association has decided to hold its 2017 conference in Baltimore,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “When the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company relocated to Baltimore last year, we knew that the theater would not only contribute to our city’s renaissance, but also further showcase Baltimore City as a world-class travel destination. We look forward to showing off our city, and its flourishing arts and cultural scene, to patrons of the arts from around the world.”
Chesapeake Shakespeare Company managers have long wished to attract the international conference to Maryland, but did not have their own theater to welcome their professional peers until 2014. Last year, the 12-year-old theater company expanded to Baltimore from Howard County. In September, it opened a 260-seat theater in the historic Mercantile Trust building at 7 South Calvert Street downtown.