Shakespeare for Social Justice the power of theatre

What We Believe

We believe that the power of theatre can benefit just about anyone, from youth to adults to people with special needs. Theatre skills are life skills – the ability to focus, to work together as a team, to communicate expressively, to be in contact with our emotions, to combine discipline with creative inspiration, to problem-solve individually and as part of a group, to celebrate our victories, and learn from our mistakes.

Theatre breaks down social barriers, creates friendships, reduces stress, and builds bridges between people who might not otherwise have had reasons to interact and learn about each other.

Theatre teaches us empathy, as we imagine other people’s lives. It teaches us to recognize what is similar and what is different between our own lives and the lives of other real and imagined people. It encourages to us reflect about our place in society and in history. The study of acting is the study of the choices we make – who we choose to be, how we choose to act in the world, how we choose to spend our time.

Particularly in an institutional setting, theatre classes can become a life-changing and life-affirming practice. Many of the people who end up in an institution have not had as many opportunities to benefit from theatre and art instruction and practice, so encounter the power of theatre as something new and perspective-shifting. For this reason, teaching in institutions can have tremendous personal rewards for students and teachers alike.

What We Offer

We offer programs that combine Drama Therapy with Shakespeare Study and Performance. Exercises foster self-reflection, compassion, cooperation, self-expression, and goal-setting. We practice being human together. Shakespeare offers many opportunities to explore human motivation, interpersonal interactions, and deep thinking about the human condition. Programs include:

Shakespeare at San Quentin, since 2003
San Quentin Veterans Healing Veterans Theatre Program, since 2014

Shakespeare at Solano Prison, since 2014
Shakespeare at Folsom Women’s Facility, since 2015
Shakespeare at High Desert State Prison (Susanville), since 2017
Shakespeare at California Medical Facility (Vacaville), since 2017
Shakespeare at California Health Care Facility (Stockton), since 2017
Shakespeare at Deuel Vocational Institution (Tracy), since 2017
Shakespeare at Folsom Prison, since 2017
Returned Citizens Theatre Troupe, since 2016
Shakespeare at Marin County Community School, since 2014
Teacher Training in Shakespeare for Social Justice

Internship Opportunities to volunteer and learn – ask us how to get involved!

To make a donation in support of Shakespeare for Social Justice click here

Videos and Scripts
Shakespeare at San Quentin in the News
Biographies & Key Personnel
Arts in Corrections

Research about the Effectiveness of Arts in Corrections:

Dr. Larry Brewster’s groundbreaking study based on our demonstration sites in the California prisons

William James Association

Prison Arts Coalition

Prison Arts Resource Project