Military veterans need a unit to belong to, and they want a mission to pursue. Kentucky Shakespeare’s Shakespeare with Veterans provides both.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!”
What is it?
Shakespeare with Veterans is a free weekly conversation group and acting ensemble – no experience necessary! We meet at the Louisville Vet Center every Thursday, 6:30pm, to discuss pieces of Shakespearean text and tell stories: war stories, life stories, family stories.
The group perform snippets of Shakespeare text for groups of veterans and civilians all over the city during the year, and in the summer we perform an abridged Shakespeare play on Kentucky Shakespeare’s stage in Central Park.
“You have no idea what a difference this group has made in my life. I’m always in the best mood when I leave here.” – US Army veteran, Vietnam
“This group has helped me gain control over what my emotions do. It’s also helped me relate to civilians better.” – US Navy veteran, Vietnam
“We have genuine human connections, and it’s so easy. [When we’re performing] we don’t know what’s going to happen and THAT’S OKAY. We’re not going to analyze each other.” – US Army veteran of the Cold War era
Who is it?
The current group consists of women and men who are veterans of the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, representing conflicts as far back as Vietnam, with former ranks from Specialist to Brigadier General. Most deployed during conflict, and most have some form of PTSD or moral injury. ALL are welcome.
New participants are always welcome, and we welcome members from every branch of service, from any time of service. Very few of the participants came to the group with any Shakespeare or theatre experience, but they’ve found meaning in the texts and confidence through the group.
“The group is accepting and I feel comfortable here. While we’re here we don’t feel like we’re broken. We know these are normal reactions to experiences we’ve had.” – Indiana Army National Guard soldier
“We can just let our guard down here. Shakespeare pushes things to the surface that we need to deal with.” – US Air Force veteran
“This group is like a trust fall… It’s been 13 years since I left the service and this is the first time a group has worked for me.” – US Army veteran