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Shakespeare inspires Juvenile Justice detainees

This year marks William Shakespeare's 450th birthday and to celebrate his life and work, Juvenile Justice detainees are taking up the opportunity to learn and perform his works in a program run by Australia's eminent company, Bell Shakespeare.

The program is for detainees aged 16 to 21 years old and funded by a three-year grant from the Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation. Each program lasts for six weeks and involves a series of workshops held two days a week.

The boys of Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre recently studied and performed Macbeth while the girls at Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre studied and performed Romeo and Juliet, presenting various scenes on stage upon completion of the workshops to their families and staff.

Since John Bell formed the Bell Shakespeare company almost 25 years ago, the organisation has been focussed on education and especially for people who wouldn't normally have access to engaging with these great literary works. The program gives detainees an opportunity to experience Shakespeare as well as to build their confidence through public performance and delivers tools for better self-expression.

A documentary crew has been following the progress of detainees in the latest sessions of the program towards a show reel for Bell Shakespeare highlighting the work they are doing with Juvenile Justice centres.