(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company recently announced it is the recipient of a $15,000 grant from Berkshire United Way to support its Shakespeare in the Courts program. Through this program adjudicated juvenile offenders in Pittsfield work with Shakespeare & Company Education Artists for six weeks exploring Shakespeare’s text while preparing their own fully produced Shakespeare production.
“I am beyond grateful for the Berkshire United Way’s support for Shakespeare in the Courts,” said Jennie M. Jadow, Project Director of Shakespeare in the Courts. “Their stunning recognition of the program means that we can continue to bring this necessary and meaningful work to the community of Pittsfield. This funding allows us to continue our collaboration with the Juvenile Court and to extend Shakespeare & Company’s Educational Programming to children who are greatly in need of expanded services.”
Kristine Hazzard, President and CEO of Berkshire United Way, said, “ We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Shakespeare & Company on this innovative program, which provides support to at-risk youth here in the Berkshires. This initiative, and the collaborative effort behind it, are perfectly aligned with our vision of creating a dynamic, engaged community with opportunities for all.
In conjunction with the Berkshire Juvenile Court System, adolescent offenders in the Shakespeare in the Courts program study, rehearse, and perform Shakespeare as an alternative to more punitive consequences. For the past 17 years, Shakespeare & Company Education artists have worked closely with Berkshire Juvenile Court Judges and Probation Officers of Berkshire County to engage adolescent offenders and at-risk youth, and provide an alternative to traditional punitive measures.
This innovative, effective and action-oriented program has recently garnered local and national media attention, including a morning segment on CBS News earlier this year. Shakespeare in the Courts was also nationally recognized and celebrated at a White House Ceremony as a recipient of The Coming Up Taller Awards, and honored as an outstanding community arts program with a Gold Star Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Berkshire United Way has served Berkshire County for over 90 years, mobilizing the resources necessary to address the most pressing issues and lead the way to a thriving community. As part of a global network, we focus on creating lasting change by giving parents the tools they need to be partners in their child’s success, leading to healthy decision making by youth and resulting in a successful, stable life. For more information about Berkshire United Way, visit berkshireunitedway.org.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 30,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and nationally renowned and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.