Shakespeare goes in search of new audiences. Again.

Among most of the 140 conference-goers — from theaters as varied in size as the sprawling Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., to the modest Gamut Theatre Group in Harrisburg, host of this year’s event — I sensed an abiding respect for Shakespeare, even as his perch atop the pyramid was being questioned. “We used to say ‘Shakespeare is for everyone.’ Well, Shakespeare’s not for everyone,” averred Stephen Burdman, artistic director of New York Classical Theatre, which tours New York City parks and other outdoor venues with free summer classics and multicultural audiences in mind. “Maybe,” Burdman mused, “if White men had been not been the predominant culture, Shakespeare wouldn’t be ‘Shakespeare.’ ”

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