“Men at some time are masters of their fates.”

– Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“These men cannot re-do the day that sealed their fate, but they have become better men while they are serving their time.”

– SBB Audience Member

"The group dynamics have brought about a positive atmosphere and great moments of self-reflection. I was blessed to be a part of someone else’s growth and desire to want to know and be more."

– SBB Veteran/Journeymen Mentor

Shakespeare Behind Bars

Founded in 1995, Shakespeare Behind Bars is one of the longest running, continuously operating, art, theatre, Shakespeare, and original writing prison programs in the US.


Shakespeare Behind Bars currently serves 200 incarcerated adults and juveniles in nine SBB programs in three Kentucky adult prisons – Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, Northpoint Training Center, & Southeast State Correctional Complex (virtual program); three Kentucky juvenile detention centers – Fayette Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Jackson County Youth Center, & Frenchburg Youth Home ; one Illinois juvenile detention center – Illinois Youth Center – Chicago; one virtual program for returned citizens – Shax BEYOND Bars; and one touring returned citizen memoire program – Othello’s Tribunal.



Since 1995, Shakespeare Behind Bars has offered theatrical encounters with personal and social issues to incarcerated, post-incarcerated, and at-risk communities, allowing them to develop life skills that will ensure their successful integration into society. The youth and adults we serve experience a powerful personal transformation as a result, building life skills, emotional intelligence and coping strategies essential to successfully re-integrate into society.

SBB participant recidivism rate
National avg. recidivism rate

Attend a Performance

Thank you all who attended the 2023 public performances of our 25th Anniversary Production at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky. 
After being dark since King Lear closed in 2019, our reopening was glorious. 
We are now in rehearsals for As you Like It which will perform in April, 2024. 
To join the mailing list to receive information about our public performances, please email Curt@shakespearebehindbars.org

Watch the Documentary

The Philomath Films documentary about Shakespeare Behind Bars premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. You can view the film online.

More Info

Donate & Support our mission

We rely on the generosity of our supporters. To help us continue our services for inmates and youth, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

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