History of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company originally was incorporated under the name Fahrenheit Theatre Company. Beginning with a small grant in 1993, a group of young theater artists founded the FTC with the mission of producing Shakespeare and the classics for modern audiences. FTC produced five plays in its first season in various local venues, beginning with Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at Gabriel’s Corner in Over-the-Rhine. Since that time, the Company has enjoyed rapid artistic growth, a loyal audience base, and critical acclaim. For a more detailed history, click here.

In 1996, the Company moved to the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Performance Center in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. In 1997, the Company officially changed its name from Fahrenheit Theatre Company to Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, clarifying its mission and its relationship to other regional Shakespeare theaters. Also in 1997, the Company began offering its touring educational programs, including Shakespearience and Two Hours’ Traffic.

In 1998, the Company moved into a small movie theater in downtown Cincinnati, former home of The Movies. It was converted into a small, thrust-stage theater with 185 seats, including 40 seats on the stage.

In 1999, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company became one of the first associate members of the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, along with eight other local midsize arts organizations.

In 2000, the resident acting ensemble of seven actors became full-time staff members. By paying actors a living wage, the artists can focus more exclusively on their craft and professional development.

In 2001, the Young Company program was launched to give early-career classical actors a full year of training and performance with the resident acting ensemble. The Young Company members serve as our primary Education Ambassadors by performing in the popular Two Hours’ Traffic programs. Young Company members have gone on to work with prestigious regional theaters throughout the country.

In 2002, Founding Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis turned artistic leadership of the Company over to Founding Company Member Nick Rose and longtime Company Member Brian Isaac Phillips. The Company finished a major renovation to its theater space by installing more than 150 new seats, funded by a generous grant from the city of Cincinnati. In 2003, Interim Artistic Director Nick Rose turned artistic leadership of the Company over to Brian Isaac Phillips. In 2004, the Company joined the Actors’ Equity Association as a small professional theater, becoming the third union theater in Cincinnati.

In 2006, the Company changed its name to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company as a year-round arts organization that is proud to be a constant here in the Queen City.