Penguin Random House has long-standing partnerships with both New York City’s Public Theater, to support its Shakespeare in the Park series, and with Literacy Partners. For this summer’s productions of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, PRH brought the two together for a special philanthropic book program.
On the opening night of Julius Caeser, which ran from May 23 to June 18, PRH gave away 200 bags that contained Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups and Julius Caesar books. On July 9, PRH volunteers distributed 350 bags that contained Young Radicals, a new book released on that date, which was suggested by the Public Theater. The final book drop took place August 9, when Literacy Partners and PRH volunteers gave away 350 A Midsummer Night’s Dream books.
All through the two-month program, PRH also conducted a ReadWell campaign that encouraged those attending the play—particularly people who lined up as early as 5:00 a.m. for that evening’s production—to go to the readwell.penguinrandomhouse.com website to read free excerpts from PRH’s Shakespeare and Shakespeare-related books (such as retellings of the Bard’s works by other authors). The more time people spent reading the excerpts, the more books PRH donated to Literacy Partners. As a result of the campaign, PRH will donate 10,000 books of Literacy Partners’ choice to the organization.
Claire von Schilling, v-p of corporate communications for PRH, said this pair of programs “is another example of our commitment to celebrating our Shakespeare publishing programs, giving back to our local communities, and supporting literacy.”