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A new, enlarged role for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Actors perform on stage on the Common during a presentation of “Love's Labour's Lost” by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company last year.
Actors perform on stage on the Common during a presentation of “Love's Labour's Lost” by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company last year.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/file

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, long known for its Shakespeare on the Common summer series, is branching out.

The organization, headed by founding artistic director Steven Maler, plans to expand its programming to include up to half-a-dozen productions each season at the Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College, where CSC is theater-in-residence.

“It’s a very, very big change and an exciting opportunity for CSC and an opportunity for Babson to have more programming out here,’’ Maler said in a telephone interview with the Globe.

As its cultural footprint extends into the western suburbs, the troupe will “absolutely’’ continue to present its annual free productions of Shakespeare on Boston Common, Maler said. (This summer’s offering is “Romeo and Juliet.’’)

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This spring’s kickoff slate of dramas at Babson will include the world premiere of Jake Broder’s “Our American Hamlet,’’ inspired by the legendary actor Edwin Booth, brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, scheduled for March 23-April 2, to be directed by Maler; “Beckett in Brief,’’ an evening of short plays by Samuel Beckett (April 27-May 7); and Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar’’ (May 13 for the general public, with other performances for area middle-school and high school students).

The expanded programming at Babson will build upon a partnership with the Wellesley college that began in 2013. In 2014, CSC presented a memorable production of Beckett’s “Happy Days’’ at Babson, starring Brooke Adams and husband Tony Shalhoub. That was followed in 2015 by “Without You,’’ a solo show written and performed by “Rent’’ star Anthony Rapp and directed by Maler.

Now, Maler said, CSC will be able to “build productions from the ground up’’ at Babson rather than present work that was developed elsewhere, increasing opportunities for engagement with the college’s students, faculty, and staff. Looking down the road, Maler said he anticipates that his company will stage between four and six full productions at Babson per season, with an average run of two weeks.

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“To see the growing impact of the company is just profoundly gratifying,’’ said Maler. “It’s what we’ve always aspired to do.’’


Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.