|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|January 24, 2007
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
Juvenile Court’s Shakespeare in the Courts Program
Is Recipient of National Award
to right are: Berkshire County Juvenile Court Probation
Officer Nancy Macauley, Judge Paul Perachi, former Shakespeare
in the Courts participant Collette Davis; and Shakespeare & Company
Director of Education Kevin Coleman.
First Lady Laura Bush at White House
ceremony where Shakespeare in the Courts receives
"Coming Up Taller" Award.
The Shakespeare in the Courts Program, an initiative
for juvenile probationers and court-involved youth in Berkshire
County, was one of 17 cultural arts programs from across the
nation chosen to receive the “Coming Up Taller Award,” which
was presented by First Lady Laura Bush at the White House on
The “Coming Up” Award, which includes
a $10,000 grant, was established in 1998 by the President’s
Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Berkshire County Juvenile
Court Judge Paul Perachi, Probation Officer Nancy Macauley and
Shakespeare & Company Director of Education Kevin Coleman traveled
to Washington, D.C. to accept the award. Macauley, who oversees
the Shakespeare in the Courts Program, accompanied an 18-year-old
woman who participated in the program twice. The White House
ceremony was followed by a reception in the East Room and meetings
with Senator John Kerry and Congressman John Olver.
“It was wonderful for the program to get
recognized and at that level. For the 15 to 16 children we have
participate in the program each session, it has an everlasting
effect on their lives,” Macauley said. “This award
is validation of how important the Shakespeare & Company and
the Berkshire County Juvenile Court program is. We’ve (probation
and the court) have established a relationship with a company
that has the tools to help children.”
Shakespeare in the Courts is the brainchild of
Judge Paul E. Perachi and Shakespeare & Company’s Coleman.
The program is managed by Macauley in collaboration with the
Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company.
Judge Perachi, a former school principal, said
he “never expected to end up in the White House” when
he and Coleman designed the program.
“As a school principal 20 years ago, I saw
the positive effect performing Shakespeare had on students. As
a judge, I recognized that some of the young people who came
before the court were struggling with poor self-esteem and were
unable to communicate effectively which was frustrating for them—frustration
that often led to violence,” said Judge Perachi.
“Being able to perform Shakespeare for these children made a real difference.
I found that working with probation and through probation supervision, we can
get it done.”
Shakespeare in the Courts was chosen from a pool
of 250 nominees for the award. The program is six years old and
has had about 100 participants. The six-week program runs from
February through April with practice three times a week. In April,
the group performs a Shakespeare play before an audience of family
members, friends and Juvenile Court employees.
This year’s play, which has not been chosen
yet, will be performed on April 11th.