Shakespeare in Solitary

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Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 58

For ten years, Laura Bates, a professor at Indiana State University, taught Shakespeare to a group of inmates considered the worst of the worst – men incarcerated in the solitary confinement unit at Indiana’s Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. These are, for the most part, prisoners considered so dangerous they were kept apart, even from the other prisoners.  
 
Every week, Professor Bates would drive out to the prison, make her way over to solitary confinement and sit down in a space in between the cells of these men to discuss Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and Richard II. She wrote about her experiences in a book titled Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard.
 
Laura Bates is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.
 

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published October 4, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, How I May Compare This Prison Where I Live Unto The World, was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. Audio of the inmates Laura worked with was provided by Indiana State’s Video Production Manager, Tracy Ford. It was edited by Ciara Gillan. We had additional help from Mike Paskash and Casey Zakin at WFIU, Indiana Public Media and Bill Lancz at Marketplace Studios in Los Angeles. 

Want more? Browse our full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. Listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, and NPR One.