Teaching Shakespeare to Prisoners – Suraya Keating

Teaching Shakespeare to Prisoners – Suraya Keating

Suraya KeatingIn this episode of The Important Podcast, you will meet Suraya Keating who teaches classical Shakespeare acting to prison inmates in the United States.

For over fifteen years, Suraya has combined her knowledge of psychology, counseling, mindfulness, theatre and acting to facilitate Drama Therapy workshops to serve marginalized populations, including at-risk youth, children with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, prison inmates and others. This is her story.

Listen on iTunes and Spotify.

In this Episode, You Will Learn

  • We’re all born with the ability to use our imaginations and play
  • About the healing power of play
  • How theatre and Shakespeare training can help people develop empathy and be emotionally present
  • Some intense moments and lessons learned from teaching Shakespeare in San Quentin State Prison
  • How prisoners write and perform their own theater pieces based on their lives and themes from Shakespeare
  • How deep play brings people from all different racial, religious and economic class backgrounds together
  • Reframing our view of mistakes and our relationship to failure
  • How prisoners grapple with the challenging language of ‘Old English’ and apply the narrative themes of Shakspeare to their lives
    (Thanks to podcast listener Geniya Avilov for submitting this question)
  • Suraya’s journey from growing up in an achievement-oriented Jewish family in New York City to helping others through drama therapy and joyful deep play
  • How Suraya is most present when she’s serving others in the way she wants to be serving others
  • A lesson from Rick on emotions: Thank You
  • How when we’re highly triggered, it’s often not the best time for dialogue
  • “A sailor doesn’t learn how to sail on a calm sea”
  • What scares Suraya
  • Suraya’s goals

Links and Resources

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About the Author

Jared Polivka’s mission is to serve others while living a light-hearted, present, empathetic and responsible life. Jared serves nonprofits at Donorbox.org, teaches at The Joy of Improv and advises various technology startups and organizations. Stay in touch with Jared on Instagram and Twitter.

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