The Shakespeare Behind Bars organization, a unique and inspiring program, aims to incorporate the arts and theatre with personal and social issues faced the incarcerated, hoping to help them develop skills that they will eventually require in order to reintegrate themselves into society. The organization was founded on a set of beliefs that echo the values expressed by those involved in the Love and Forgiveness Project – that despite everything, human beings inhabit an inherently good nature.
Many of these incarcerated criminals who are involved with the program have been convicted of crimes of all scales against other human beings, but at the end of the day, there is still goodness within them which has just gotten a bit lost – It just takes some work to find and bring that goodness out in the open, the organization believes. The organization works to find that goodness, and does so through the production of Shakespeare’s plays. The organization has many aims goals that it aims to achieve, including helping the participants of the program “develop a sense of empathy, compassion and trust”, and “to learn tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict.”
Similarly, the Love and Forgiveness Project believes that both, love and forgiveness, are universal values and transcend above all else. Just as the Shakespeare Behind Bars organization believes that an inherently good nature, when brought out or reinforced, can transform anyone – even convicted criminals who have committed heinous crimes, the Love and Forgiveness Project believes that the same good nature of man can have a transformative effect on conflicts and disputes happening around the world. Though the two initiatives aim to explore in two different respects, their basic, instinctive values are the same – that the inherent good nature of humans can be a truly transformative force.
<a href="Shakespeare Behind Bars. Accessed April 13, 2014. http://www.shakespearebehindbars.org/
The belief in transformation and second chances is essential for those who believe in the power of love and forgiveness. It is quite inspiring to find an organization like this that is willing to utilize the arts for such a powerful end.