Let’s Get to Know Shakespeare in the Courts

My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,

Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes

Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 

At the Trauma Research Foundation, we welcome a wide-pronged and varied ethos for treating trauma. Human beings are unique and as such, a binary, regimented approach is never the most effective way of helping people overcome their problems. 

We are very pleased to introduce Shakespeare in the Courts – an organization certainly taking an “outside the box” approach to helping young people change and grow through dramatic expression. 

Shakespeare in the Courts is headed up by Kevin Coleman, a member of Shakespeare & Company, a runner-up Tony winner for the educational class who holds degrees from St. Louis University and NYU. 

How Does Shakespeare in the Courts Work?

Shakespeare in the Courts is a trailblazing scheme where juvenile offenders and those in need of special services work with Shakespeare & Company artists to rehearse Shakespeare as an obligation to the court.

Kevin was first approached to develop a theater program for students more than thirty years ago by Paul Perachi, then a principal of a local high school. Perachi went on to become the first presiding juvenile court justice in Berkshire County. During practice, he noticed that “these are the same kinds of kids I saw as a principal, they just come before me under different circumstances.”

Perachi thought that working with professionals at Shakespeare and Company would help teenagers develop self-esteem, communication skills, and anger management – he was right. The juvenile offenders perform and rehearse for three hours per day, four days a week, for six weeks. In return, they do not have to serve any time in a correctional facility.

Why TRF Loves this Organization

Since its inception, Shakespeare in the Courts has worked with over 200 children and young adults and there are many success stories. This includes a person categorized as a “violent offender” who has now completed college to 16 year old “James” who is now simply “doing better in school”.

Kevin’s goal is to give the children the opportunity to loosen up and remove their armor, even if it is for a short time. Although Kevin’s program is therapeutic in nature, he insists that he and his staff are not therapists; they are actors. However, he does have this to say on the matter: “Shakespeare is a really good therapist. His insights are profound, they reveal human nature so accurately. I mean, they’re working with the best therapist they could ever have in doing these plays.”

Please tune in to Licia Sky’s recent conversation with Kevin Coleman to hear firsthand about the history of the program, how it works, why he is so passionate about this endeavor and why TRF is proud to partner with them in our Therapeutic Alliance.

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