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South Dakota Shakespeare Festival Receives Grant from USA Today Network

SDSF COPY The South Dakota Shakespeare Festival received a $5,000 grant as part of the USA Today Network and Gannett Foundation's A Community Thrives program.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The South Dakota Shakespeare Festival will receive a $5,000 local operating grant for its 2021 season from the USA Today Network and the Gannett Foundation.

The grant is part of A Community Thrives, which is a grant-making and crowd-funding program that supports nonprofit organizations with projects focused on community building. The program has helped contribute more than $12 million since 2017.

SDSF’s new funding will help the company stage a professional production of “Twelfth Night, or What you Will” June 17-20, 2021 in Vermillion's Prentis Park as well as help expand educational programs.

“Of course, a COVID universe takes a large toll on every industry in every field, but it takes a particular toll on the theater,” said Chaya Gordon-Bland, executive artistic director. “With a budget of $55,000 to $60,000, another $5,000 is a big boost for us.”

This year, A Community Thrives engaged participants in 45 states. SDSF was named one of three recipients in southeast South Dakota.

“We are proud of the work the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival has done to enhance Vermillion, the surrounding communities and the region,” Gannett CEO and chairman Mike Reed said. “At Gannett, we take pride in supporting the organizations that make a positive impact in their communities. Through A Community Thrives, we lend financial support to that purpose as well as rally the whole community to champion a good and meaningful cause.”

Learn more about SDSF at


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News