About the Project

The Shakespeare Prison Project works with up to 20 prisoners each year, culminating in the performance of a Shakespeare play.

The heart of the Shakespeare Prison Project philosophy is that violent behaviour often arises from an inability to express negative thoughts and emotions in words. It uses theatre as a medium, since one of theatre's main tools is embodied language.

The project utilises a combination of Shakespeare text and drama games, in particular Theatre of the Oppressed techniques developed by Brazilian Theatre-maker and activist Augusto Boal. These are designed to create an atmosphere of trust and emotional safety for the participants, to invite them to connect their personal experiences to their acting, and to tease out themes that the prisoners want to explore. A Shakespeare play is then chosen to rehearse and perform based on these themes.

The Project develops emotional bravery, self-awareness, social skills, self-confidence, individual dedication as well as the commitment to work as a member of a team. The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble has run the project seven times since its inception in 2006.

"When the audience stood up and applauded... At that moment I felt like an actual GOOD person... a sense of accomplishment... I was actually PROUD of myself." - 2013 Participant

If you are able to support the Shakespeare Prison Project, or know an organisation who might, please click here, or get in contact with us.


Project Manager: Kat Dekker
E-mail: spp@qldshakespeare.org
Phone: +61 (0)452199192