I have been thinking about Las Vegas. This year’s National Council of Teachers of English convention will take place there in November. However, what prompted thoughts of Vegas wasn’t the convention or the slots, but a recent article on broadway world.com about that noted the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company’s announcement that it would be undertaking a capital campaign to fund the renovation of the historic Reed Whipple Cultural Center. What fascinated me was the fact that the theater company won a unanimous vote from the Las Vegas City Council last September to lease the building. According to the article, the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company (LVSC) has been “producing and performing world-class theatre plays and musicals since 2008 … [and] by early 2014, LVSC will continue bringing the Bard to high school students across Clark County through its Shakespeare in the Schools program and staging the beloved Shakespeare-In-The-Park and spring children’s musical for the City of Henderson.” The mission of the LVSC is to “create a vibrant professional resident theater and cultural arts institution to help promote a better quality of life for all residents of Nevada.” It sounds like Las Vegas has much more to offer than gambling. It also sounds like the city council understands the importance of the arts — and Shakespeare — to its community. Are there any other city councils helping to pave the way for arts development in their communities?
If you’re headed to Vegas for the NCTE convention this November, it might be a good idea to check out what the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company has in production when you’re there. And, if you are attending the convention, be sure to visit us in the exhibition hall, and plan to attend one of our sessions.