Shantigar, located on a spectacularly beautiful old farm on a mountainside in Western Massachusetts, is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to practices of creativity, meditation, and engagement with nature.
For 250 years, the old Davenport farm was known for its hospitality. In 1900 the local post office was in the farmhouse, school teachers lodged there, and Mrs. Davenport hosted pot luck suppers on Sundays.
Jean-Claude van Itallie, born in Brussels, Belgium, was four years old when he fled the Holocaust with his family. He was raised in Great Neck, New York and attended Harvard University. In the early 1960s, Jean-Claude’s work was seminal in the revolutionary new theater in Greenwich Village. He was one of LaMama’s first playwrights and served as playwright-of-the-ensemble for Joe Chaikin's Open Theater, with whom he wrote The Serpent.
Jean-Claude’s trilogy America Hurrah, three views of the USA, was the landmark play for anti-Vietnam war protests. His other plays include War, Light, The Traveler, Bag Lady, I'm Really Here, Almost Like Being, Struck Dumb (written with Joe Chaikin), Ancient Boys, Fear Itself, and The Tibetan book of the Dead or how not to do it again. His translations include the major plays of Anton Chekhov's and Jean Genet's The Balcony; he also wrote a dramatic version of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. Other works include The Playwright's Workbook and Tea with Demons: Games of Transformation.
In 1977, Jean-Claude invited his Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, to retreated at his farm in Western Massachusetts to write his renowned Shambala teachings. Trungpa renamed the farm, "Shantigar," which means "Peaceful Home." Jean-Claude subsequently turned Shantigar into a not-for-profit foundation.
The Shantigar Foundation is devoted to the practices of meditation, theater of sacred intent, and engagement with nature—and discovering where these practices meet.
Starting in the 1960’s, Shantigar has been visited by remarkable theater artists, spiritual teachers, healers, painters, writers, dancers, photographers, composers, singers and poets.
Theater and Film
Joyce Aaron, Hilton Als, Mark Amitin, Robert Anton, Richard Armstrong, James Barbosa, Paul Boeson, Peter Brook, Shirley Bukrey Lloyd, Joseph Chaikin, Shami Chaikin, Nancy Cooperstein Charney, Jordan Charney, Bill Coco, Dorothy Dean, Kermit Dunkelberg, Jake Eberle, Alvin Epstein, Angelina Fiordellisi, Maria Irene Fornes, Sharon Gans, Spalding Gray, Lorraine Grosslight, Cynthia Harris, Judd Hirsch, Morag Hood, Linda Hunt, Adrienne Kennedy, Francoise Kourilsky, Daniel Kramer, Jacques Levy, Kristin Linklater, Leueen MacGrath, Joan MacIntosh, Jun Maeda, Peter Maloney, Kim Mancuso, Judith Malina, Alan Marlowe, Evangeline Morphos, Wayne Maughans, Pearl Padamsee, Carol Fox Prescott, Rosemary Quinn, Ronald Rand, George Reinholt, Roger Reese, Alain Resnais, Hannon Reznikov, Gordon Rogoff, Mimi Savage, Peter Shaffer, Sam Shepherd; Tina Shepherd, Michael Townsend Smith, Ellen Stewart, David Threlfall, Barbara Vann, Lois Walden, Robert Wilson, David Wolpe, Rae C. Wright, David Willinger
Megan Bathory-Peeler, Elaine Colandrea, Emilie Conrad, Nancy Spanier
John Adams, Alison Charney, Andrea Clearfield, Terry Eder-Kaufman, Bill Hart, William M. Hoffman, Steve Gorn, Jonathan Hart Makwaia, Charles Mingus Jr., Alice Quinn-Makwaia, Mariana Quinn-Makwaia, Marianne de Pury, Steve Sweeting, Alexandre Tannous
Alfred Chester, Diane di Prima, Rand Engel, Merle Feld, Edward Field, Richard Giannone, Richard Gilman, Wendy Gimbel, Allen Ginsberg, Didi Goldenhar, Piero Heliczer, Roger Henri Klein, Elizabeth Mailer, Diane di Prima, Michael Stuart
Barton Benes, Gwen Fabricant, Jonathan Fabricant, Kaffe Fassett, Mary Frank, Robert Frank, Esther Gilman, Nicholas Gilman, David Gothard, Juke Hudig, Gene Kaufman, Jeremy Lebensohn, Juanita McNeely, Gerry Vezzuso, Claus Virch, Jeanne Wrubel
Rabbi Edward Feld, Domo Geshe, Rinpoche Kalu Rinpoche, Tania Leontov, Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Steven Post, David Rome, Adnan Sarhan, Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
Vicky dello Joio, Jan Lloyd, Terrence McKenna
And many more…
Seminars, master-teachers training their students, and individual retreats
Peaceful hills, magnificent woods, clean air, elegant simple meeting spaces, fresh organic meals, and comfortable accommodations.
People doing personal retreats, living in a cabin, can use a private kitchen in our newly renovated art studio—benevolently witnessed by eighteen iron statues of five hundred year old Chinese Bodhisattvas.
Shantigar offers a splendid mountainside setting within which to create. It also provides a striking architectural context in which artists may create productions to send out into the world.
We welcome writers, directors, actors, visual artists, musicians, and dancers to develop and collaborate on pieces.
Shantigar's primary workspace is a wide open 1,700 sq. ft. octagon, which can accommodate up to 80 people depending on the event.