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, fled the holocaust at the age of four, with his family. He was raised in Great Neck Long Island, went to Harvard, and in Greenwich Village, in the early 60s, was seminal in the revolutionary new theater. He was an original La MaMa playwright, and playwright of the ensemble for Joe Chaikin's Open Theater, with whom he wrote The Serpent. Van Itallie'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 Tibetan book of the Dead or how not to do it again, translations of Chekov's major plays and Jean Genet's The Balcony. He wrote a play version of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. He also wrote The Playwright's Workbook, and Tea with Demons, games of transformation. His novel: Tomboy Duchess and Sir Baylor, Coming Out in Regency England.
In 1977, Jean-Claude van Itallie’s renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, retreated to Jean-Claude's farm in Western Massachusetts to write his renowned Shambala teachings. When asked by Jean-Claude, Trungpa renamed the farm, "Shantigar," which means "peaceful home." Jean-Claude turned Shantigar into a not-for-profit foundation.
Starting in the nineteen sixties, Shantigar has been visited by a remarkable stream of theater artists, spiritual teachers, healers, painters, writers, dancers, photographers, composers, singers and poets – including Joyce Aaron; John Adams; Josh Adler; Hilton Als; Mark Amitin; Robert Anton; Richard Armstrong; Megan Bathory-Peeler; James Barbosa; Barton Benes; Lolly Bellon; Paul Boesing; Peter Brook; Joseph Chaikin; Shami Chaikin; Jordan Charney; Allison Charney; Alfred Chester; Andrea Clearfield; Bill Coco; Davi Cohen; Elaine Colandrea; Emilie Conrad; Nancy Cooperstein Charney; Dorothy Dean; Diane di Prima; Domo Geshe, Rinpoche; Kermit Dunkelberg; Jake Eberle; Terry Eder-Kaufman; Rand Engel; Alvin Epstein; Gwen Fabricant; Jonathan Fabricant; Kaffe Fassett; Rabbi Edward Feld; Merle Feld; Edward Field; Angelina Fiordellisi; Maria Irene Fornes; Mary Frank; Robert Frank; Sharon Gans; Richard Giannone; Esther Gilman; Nicholas Gilman; Richard Gilman; Wendy Gimbel; Allen Ginsberg; Edith Goldenhar; Steve Gorn; David Gothard; Spalding Gray; Lorraine Grosslight; Cynthia Harris; Bill Hart; Piero Heliczer; Judd Hirsch; Morag Hood; William M. Hoffman; Juke Hudig; Linda Hunt; Kalu, Rinpoche; Gene Kaufman; Adrienne Kennedy; Roger Henri Klein; Daniel Kramer; Jeremy Lebensohn; Tania Leontov; Jacques Levy; Kristin Linklater; Jan Lloyd; Shirley Bukrey Lloyd; Elizabeth Mailer; Kim Mancuso; Leueen MacGrath; Joan MacIntosh; Taizan Maezumi Roshi; Pater Maloney; Wayne Maughans; Terrence McKenna; Jun Maeda; Judith Malina; Jonathan Hart Makwaia; Francoise Kourilsky; Alan Marlowe; Juanita McNeely; Charles Mingus Jr.; Diane di Prima; Steven Post; Carol Fox Prescott; Marianne de Pury; Rosemary Quinn; Alice Quinn-Makwaia; Mariana Quinn-Makwaia; Vincent Medici; Evangeline Morphos; Vicky dello Joio; Pearl Padamsee; Ronald Rand; Roger Reese; George Reinholt; Alain Resnais; Hannon Reznikov; David Rome; Mimi Savage; Adnan Sarhan; Peter Shaffer; Sam Shepherd; Tina Shepherd; Nancy Spanier; Ellen Stewart; Michael Stuart; Michael Townsend Smith; Steve Sweeting; Alexandre Tannous; David Threlfall; Tulku Thondup, Rinpoche; Gordon Rogoff; Jay Sullivan; Barbara Vann; Gerry Vezzuso; Claus Virch; Lois Walden; Rabbi Sheila Weinberg; David Willinger; Robert Wilson; Margaret Woodside; David Wolpe; Rae C. Wright; Jeanne Wrubel – among others.
Shantigar is devoted to the practices of meditation, theater of sacred intent, and engagement with nature--and discovering where these practices meet.
Shantigar provides beautiful surroundings and quiet, friendly support to an artist-in-residence. The artist-in-residence, in turn, is invited to share meals with workshop participants and teachers, to offer workshops, and take part in workshops.
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 welcomes skilled, gifted nutritionists, homeopaths, herbologists, practitioners of preventative Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, and other authentic healers who activate a joyous sense of being well.