Shakespeare Behind Bars believes it is imperative to create transformational programs that provide at risk youth with the tools they need to work towards a future outside institutions and thereby reduce the rate of youth who will commit crimes that could lead to their spending their adult lives behind bars. The Shakespeare Behind Bars juvenile programs employ the same vision, mission, values, and techniques that have proven successful in the adult program founded in 1995 at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, KY.


On August 26, 2013, Artistic Director Matt Wallace began SBB’s first juvenile program exclusively for females, the new Shakespeare Beyond Bars program at Maryhurst School in Louisville.  The program served at-risk girls with severe emotional trauma and destructive behaviors.

The program began with an informational and hands-on introductory session for girls ages 12-18.  Following the session, they had the opportunity to volunteer to participate as ensemble members in the new program over several weeks in the fall and again in the spring.  The students explored the values and pursued the goals of the SBB program in this critical time of their lives as they work to successfully transition back into society.

Maryhurst provides residential treatment, an on-campus school, treatment-oriented foster care, and supervised transitional living.  Maryhurst provides intensive treatment in residential settings for girls with severe emotional trauma and destructive behaviors.  Special education services are provided based on students’ Individual Education Plans.

Maryhurst School offers both a comprehensive and special education curriculum by fully certified Jefferson County Public School teachers.  In addition to the basic subject areas of English, math, science, and social studies, Maryhurst also offers a variety of related arts curriculum.  Approximately 95 percent of residents are committed to the Cabinet for Families and Children.


The mission of the State Agency Children’s Programs is to integrate education and treatment in a safe environment for our students. We strive to help our students develop a love for learning, a positive plan for the future, a respect for diversity, and an appreciation of self as a productive member of society.

The 2013-2014 SBB Shakespeare Beyond Bars program at Maryhurst School was made possible through a generous Community Arts Grant from Fund for the Arts.