Shakespeare BEYOND Bars for Veterans

Shakespeare BEYOND Bars for Veterans is a program for soldiers who have been trauma impacted by their service in the military.

There’s a great deal of research about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with military personnel. PTSD in soldiers has a long history dating back to the Greeks in the 5th Century BC who explored the trauma of war in their theatrical plays.

The Greek playwrights used drama to wrestle with the trauma of constant war by writing about the ravages of war and putting it on the stage for the audiences to bear witness.

In his book, Poetics (33 BCE), Artistotle wrote about the positive social function of the purgation of the emotions of pity and fear (catharsis) when viewing tragic plays about the ravages of war.

Because the Greeks understood the mental and physical healing power of art, they built their medical care centers in the proximity of their theaters so that the patients could hear the performances from their beds.

Unfortunately, 1600+ years later, the Elizabethans built their medical care centers near their prisons.

400+ years after that, Shakespeare Behind Bars began taking Shakespeare’s plays into correctional facilities.