Shakespeare Is My Livelihood

Mike’s Story
In my time as the managing director of the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, I was fortunate to witness countless examples of how the arts transcend the creative experience to touch and affect the rest of our lives—and, how public funding for the arts makes that possible.

Each night, I witnessed three to five thousand people, in rapt attention, listening to the Shakespeare Festivalwords of a man who lived four hundred years ago; words that still resonate today.

I saw many so moved by the experience that they created their own art to celebrate. I saw people painting in the park, dancing on the grass, designing their own t-shirts, sewing quilts, and singing around picnic dinners.

I saw children drag their parents into the park to enjoy Shakespeare, not knowing him as that stuffy ancient author, but rather as the man who told those exciting stories about kings and lovers, clowns and pirates, presented each summer in a beautiful outdoor space.

The Festival made Shakespeare accessible and meaningful for thousands who might not have otherwise heard his words or even ventured into a theater.

About MikeMike Markey
As Arts Industry Manager for the Nebraska Arts Council, Michael Markey coordinates the programs and services for Nebraska’s producing artists and arts organizations.

Mike oversees the grant categories: Basic Support Grants (BSG) for major and discipline-based organizations. Arts Project Grants (APG); Professional Development Grants (PDG); and Mini Grants. In addition, Michael manages the Nebraska Touring Program (NTP) and the online Artist Directory.

Mike served as the Managing Director of the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival for eighteen years. Before that he helped found Omaha’s Circle Theatre. Michael is an actor and director with professional credits in film and on stage. Michael received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Arts Management from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in People’s Theater from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.