April 18, 2016 2:04 PM

Alex MillerAlex Miller, Millikin University associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, began a program at the Decatur Correctional Center five years ago called Shakespeare Corrected.  

Shakespeare Corrected places Millikin students and offenders from the Decatur Correctional Center together in a nine-month collaborative process resulting in a fully mounted Shakespeare production. The Center's latest production was "Much Ado About Nothing" held on April 16.

Modeled off a similar program at an Indiana super max prison, Shakespeare Corrected has been a big success for the women's prison.

"Everyone over there is very supportive of the program – the women really love it," said Miller. "We usually start in August and let the women sign up to join. We usually put up an hour and a half production in April in which their whole family can attend and watch."

The support of two corporate sponsors, Soundcheck Music Center and Peerless Dry Cleaning, along with the staff at the prison has been helpful in growing the program.

This year's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" was directed by recent Millikin graduate Dana Anderson '14. The inmates worked alongside Millikin students to stage the production, including constructing the sets. Anderson said rehearsals were held three times a week since the beginning of the year with more as the performance approached.

"We've been able to address the serious with sincerity and grace," said Anderson.

Miller says the program will help build intangible skills, which the women can use once they are out of prison.

Click here to read more about Shakespeare Corrected in an article from the Herald & Review.