Juvenile Justice Program

“Make not your thoughts your prison.”
– Antony and Cleopatra 

Kentucky Shakespeare has a long history of serving the incarcerated: Shakespeare Behind Bars began as a program of Kentucky Shakespeare in 1995 before branching out to become a separate not-for-profit in 2010, and Producing Artistic Director Matt Wallace has been Facilitator/Director of the Shakespeare Behind Bars KY programs since 2008.

2023-2024 marks Kentucky Shakespeare’s fourth year in residence at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana as a recipient of a Shakespeare in American Communities grant, a theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Kentucky Shakespeare is facilitates comprehensive Shakespeare arts programming at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center in the Indiana Department of Correction in Jeffersonville Indiana, serving youth ages 10-17 throughout the entire school-year. Led by facilitator Keith McGill, incarcerated juveniles work with our artists for two sessions per week, exploring text, themes, and issues from Shakespeare through discussion, reflection, exercises, and performance. Visiting artists contribute in the areas of visual art, music, and conflict resolution.

The mission of the Clark County Clementine B. Barthold Juvenile Detention Center is to provide protection and detention of youth in the Indiana Department of Correction with programming that adheres to the needs of the residents including medical, information, education, life skills, counseling, drug and alcohol education and religious services. The detention center is committed to providing the highest quality of detention services possible to the juveniles of Clark County and its surrounding region. Average population is 14 males and females with an average stay of 15 months.

Survivorship Shakespeare

“We know what we are but know not what we may be.”
– Hamlet

People who have received a cancer diagnosis (40% of the American population at some time in their lives) are undergoing a blow to their mental and emotional stability unlike any other. And yet, as Dr. Nancy E. Adler says in Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, “Both patients and providers tell us that attention to psycho-social health needs is the exception rather than the rule in oncology practice today.” Recognizing that need, Kentucky Shakespeare launched programming serving those impacted by cancer at Gilda’s Club.

Kentucky Shakespeare’s work provides a safe place for creative and emotional expression, resulting in an environment of learning, teamwork, and, most importantly, community.

Gilda’s Club summer programming made possible by Arts for All Kentucky. 

To get more information and support this program, contact Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director at matt@kyshakespeare.com.





Arts with Immigrants and Refugees

“A hundred thousand welcomes: I could weep,
And I could laugh; I am light and heavy:
Welcome.” – Coriolanus

There are at least 100 languages spoken in the Jefferson County Public Schools and 35% of Louisville’s population growth over the past fifteen years is from international residents from over 150 different countries throughout the world. We’re proud that Kentucky is listed in the top 20% of states in welcoming refugees, with more than 68 refugees per 100,000 residents.

In the spirit of welcome and inclusion, Kentucky Shakespeare provides this program to serve immigrants and refugees in our community.

2017-2019, veteran Kentucky Shakespeare artists Abigail Bailey Maupin and Gregory Maupin created and performed a welcoming, interactive performance using the universal language of physical comedy, commedia dell’arte, and clown to cross language barriers and use the unifying power of the arts to connect with audience members from dozens of counties, regardless of their native language.

For the 2020-2021 season we brought Spanish adaptations of our popular interactive Bard Buddies and Fairy Tales Around the World programs to the Backside Learning Center, free of charge for participants. Kentucky Shakespeare Artist Educator Ashley Cabrera facilitated the program.

For 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, we returned with spring arts residencies at Backside Learning Center and Camp Shakespeare scholarships.

Backside Learning Center programming made possible by Arts for All Kentucky. 

Community Creates: Brave Spirits

“O brave new world, that has such people in it!”
– The Tempest

In 2022 Kentucky Shakespeare launched Community Creates, a program in which our professional theatre artists worked with various community organizations over several months. Now in its third year, the program continues as Brave Spirits, our free theatre program for LGBTQ+ teens, facilitated by Kentucky Shakespeare Artistic Associate Mollie Murk.

Brave Spirits creates a safe, in-person affinity space specifically built for LGBTQ+ teens using theatrical, literary, and creative arts practices to unite students through a shared freedom of expression.

Programming made possible by Arts for All Kentucky.

To get more information and support this program, contact Hannah Pruitt, Director of Creative Engagement at hannah@kyshakespeare.com.


Community Residencies

“What is the city but the people?”
– Coriolanus

Kentucky Shakespeare facilitates various annual residencies and theatre arts programs with community groups including Down Syndrome of Louisville, Dreams with Wings, and LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance, among others.