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|February 11, 2008
Director of Communications
A Berkshire Juvenile Court –Affiliated Program
Is Recognized for Second Straight Year With National Award
The Playwright Mentoring Project, a Barrington Stage Company program which gives Berkshire juvenile probationers and court-involved youths the opportunity to stage theatre productions based on their own personal experiences, was presented with the “Coming Up Taller Award” by First Lady Laura Bush during a White House ceremony.
The presentation of this award marks the second year in a row that an arts program which directly benefits Berkshire juvenile offenders has been recognized with this national award. Last year, The Shakespeare in the Courts Program, a Shakespeare & Company initiative, received the “Coming Up Taller Award” which is presented to 17 cultural arts programs from across the nation.
“This is the second time in as many years that a program that runs out of our court has received national attention and the “Coming Up Taller Award” from First Lady Laura Bush,” said Berkshire Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officer William D. Gale. “These successful programs are a tribute to the commitment this Court and its probation department has in improving lives of our juvenile offenders through the arts.
Berkshire Juvenile Court Probation Officer James Hunt, who serves as the court-liaison to the Playwright Mentoring Program, said the program has a profound effect on probationers. The Playwright Mentoring Program is a seven-month intensive workshop offered after school.
“It is an experience they would never get on their own. Although apprehensive at first, they end up doing quite well,” said Hunt. “They learn to express themselves in a positive way and have a lot of input in the final outcome.”