Founding Philosophy
We believe the arts and the rich cultural histories in which they emerge should be accessible to all and beyond the restraints of global models that aim for political and economic gains. We are a nonprofit because profit is not a motive and the beneficiaries of our programs, public members of our community, will never incur costs for the educational and performance programs we provide.

“I wanted to create an association of people who have a passion for Shakespeare; members who resonate with my vision of co-educating, co-creating and sharing with the community their knowledge and experience – whether well-established, newly acquired or concurrently studied – through talks, recitations, classes, plays on broad topics of which the central focus is Shakespeare. Furthermore, it is my intention to see OISS be constructed and manageable upon a solid framework of a resource-based economy in the form of volunteerism and donations in kind. Success will be measured by passion and energy given by core members. Funding, or lack thereof, is not a determinant. It is secondary. However, depending on community interest and the availability of funding including donations and grants, we will be able to expand our programs and file OISS as a charitable organization. Merchandising will organically offshoot (After all, who doesn’t want a t-shirt with some Elizabethan quip?) and the proceeds will go back into the organization’s programming.”
– Michael Armenia, Founder and Executive Director

‘Success by Design’ Model
Where two or more people regularly gather in the name of Shakespeare, there is a society. What happens when two local enthusiasts create an entertaining spectacle on small stage or engage Saturday Market goers with conversation about the Bard? With the only necessary resources being the time, energy and harmonized focus of the OISS members, the mission is accomplished; but, by no means is it terminated. Rather than a finite goal, the mission of the OISS is about sustaining the presence of art and literature in our community by dynamically engaging its members with the works, the life and the zeitgeist of Shakespeare’s globe. Growth potential is limited only by imagination. As the community engages and funding arises, expansion in the scope and quality of programming will naturally follow. And so, OISS begins with a resounding note of success from a mere gathering of locals with a zeal for sharing with others.