Survivorship Shakespeare

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

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 psychosocial health needs is the exception rather than the rule in oncology practice today.” Recognizing that need, Kentucky Shakespeare has launched multiple programs serving those affected by cancer at Norton Cancer Institute and Gilda’s Club.

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

Current programs at Norton Cancer Institute:

  • Children patient and caregivers support group
  • Hip Hop Shakespeare/Teen Beats

Current Programs at Gilda’s Club:

  • pop-up performances of our Two-Actor Twelfth Night
  • Camp Shakespeare at Gilda’s
  • Weekly drama program for adults

These programs are made possible through the generosity of ArtsMatch donors and matching funds from LG&E/KU in partnership with the Fund for the Arts.

Shakespeare For Strength

“A ministering angel shall my sister be.”

People who have faced domestic or sexual abuse can feel alone, misunderstood, and powerless. Shakespeare for Strength, a part of the comprehensive programming at the Center for Women and Families, works to help turn those feelings into understanding, trust, and positive action, using the therapeutic power for the arts and the universal truths of Shakespeare.

Kentucky Shakespeare provides a series of weekly workshops tailored specifically for the clients of the Center for Women and Families, using ensemble techniques and Shakespeare’s words to empower participants to express themselves in a safe environment.

The mission of The Center for Women and Families is to help victims of intimate partner abuse and sexual violence become survivors through supportive services, community education and cooperative partnerships that foster hope, promote self-sufficiency and rebuild lives.

This program is made possible through an Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Shakespeare Without Words: Touring Arts for Immigrants and Refugees

“A hundred thousand welcomes: I could weep,
And I could laugh; I am light and heavy:

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 has created Shakespeare Without Words to serve immigrants and refugees in our community. Kentucky Shakespeare artists Abigail Bailey Maupin and Gregory Maupin have created Errors, a non-verbal adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. We’re touring the performance to Americana, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and several other area locations, free of charge for attendees. This welcoming, interactive, engaging performance uses 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.

This program is made possible through an External Agencies Fund Grant from Louisville Metro.

Helping to End Youth Homelessness: Arts Education and Conflict Resolution

“This, above all: to thine own self be true.”

In 2016, Kentucky Shakespeare joined a group of agencies brought together by the Coalition for the Homeless as part of an initiative to end youth homelessness in Louisville. As part of that initiative, Kentucky Shakespeare began programming with Home of the Innocents Aftercare, an education and life skills program for people ages 18-24.

Kentucky Shakespeare has offered this personal and interpersonal development program to youth in the Home of the Innocents After Care Program since 2017.  The program features a recurring series of progressive workshops using Shakespeare and the arts alongside other personal and interpersonal development practices to allow the individual a safe, healthy platform to move toward positive future outcomes. Workshops build empathy, community, communication, conflict resolution, responsibility for one’s actions and state of mind, and creative problem solving. Individual journaling will provide reflection and self-guided pathways to self-awareness, goal-setting and positive action.

“As the Employment Specialist I work with the entire population of our Aftercare clients, at times over 75 individuals. Working with Kentucky Shakespeare has allowed my clients a chance to come to a class where they can learn skills that I’m unfortunately short on time to teach them, as well as learn additional skills that benefit them in their future thinking. I’ve had clients come to me showing me goal lists, and to do lists that they had never done before. They are thinking about more than just the immediate future, something many of our clients struggle with. Clients are excited about future classes and wish to see more classes with expanded topics.” – Liza Smith, B.S., Employment Specialist

This program is not currently funded. The get more information and support this program, contact Kyle Ware, Director of Education –