Southeast Public Radio to Air ‘Shakespeare in American Life’


Photo of narrator Sam Waterston

The program is narrated by actor Sam Waterston, “Shakespeare in American Life” will air at 9 a.m. Sunday April 15, 22 and 29.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 9, 2007 — Southeast Public Radio at Southeast Missouri State University announces plans to air “Shakespeare in American Life,” three hour-long programs that explore the extraordinary influence of William Shakespeare on American performance, education and popular culture.

Narrated by actor Sam Waterston, “Shakespeare in American Life” will air at 9 a.m. Sunday April 15, 22 and 29.

Created to mark the 75th anniversary of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the series brings the library’s collection alive through a rich fabric of sound, overlaid with the voices of American educators, directors, producers, scholars and even a few familiar politicians. The Folger also has produced a resource-rich Web site ᾰ ᾰ to complement the series that is packed with photography, audio and video material, expanded coverage of many topics, lesson plans for teachers and even games for children.

Program One ᾰ “Shakespeare in Performance”

Shakespeare is everywhere in America, in musicals, festivals, television and the movies. In “Shakespeare in Performance,” host Sam Waterston explores the influence of the American experience on the literary giant’s work. From the nation’s earliest days, when an “American” acting style first took shape, to the ongoing influence of African American culture on the stage, from method acting to Hollywood, America and Americans have made Shakespeare their own ᾰ actors, directors and audiences alike.

Program Two ᾰ “Shakespeare in Education and Civic Life”

After the American Revolution, there were real questions about whether the new nation should adopt British culture and literature ᾰ including Shakespeare’s plays ᾰ or create its own. In “Shakespeare in Education and Civic Life,” Waterston follows the years after independence, tracing the surprisingly late arrival of Shakespeare’s work in U.S. classrooms. The program reveals the omnipresent Shakespeare in major American movements like the push West, the establishment of cities, the Civil War and the immigrant experience. It also explores America’s fascination with Shakespeare outdoors.

Program Three ᾰ “Shakespeare in American Politics”

In “Shakespeare in American Politics,” Waterston explores how Shakespeare’s work has been inextricably intertwined with the nation’s electoral, geopolitical, racial, class and academic politics. The series ends by illuminating how Shakespeare has been used for political purposes throughout American history.

Southeast Public Radio is a National Public Radio member station. The station is located on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. More information can found at or by calling Southeast Public Radio at (573) 651-5070 or 888-651-5070