“Shakespeare in the Courts is meant to boost the kids’ self-esteem, to improve their communications skills, to develop a spirit of community and cooperation.” –The Wall Street Journal
Since 2001, Shakespeare & Company Education artists have worked closely with juvenile court judges and the probation officers of Berkshire County to engage adolescent offenders and those in need of support and provide an alternative to traditional punitive measures. In conjunction with the Berkshire Juvenile Court System, adolescent offenders work with Shakespeare & Company artists and participate in classes, rehearsals, and performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. During the six-week project, participants explore Shakespeare’s text and prepare their own performance pieces as part of the terms of their probation.
This innovative, effective and action-oriented program has garnered overwhelming local and national media attention. The program was nationally recognized and celebrated at a White House Ceremony, and honored as an outstanding community arts program with a Gold Star Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Shakespeare in the Courts is partially funded by Berkshire United Way and supported by a grant through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s YouthReach Initiative. Shakespeare in the Courts is also partially funded by the Charles H. Hall Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.