Feast Of Crispian in the news!

The upcoming presentation of Julius Caesar has attracted the attention of both the Journal|Sentinel and the Shepherd Express, including a nice interview with Jim Tasse about Coping Through Shakespeare.

The Good News Network has a feature on our successful Feast of Crispian jump-start program.

Milwaukee theater professionals have been working with local veterans through intensive weekend workshops that allow emotions to boil from the cauldron of conflict within, using the words Shakespeare.

The Feast of Crispian program, run out of the Milwaukee’s Veterans Affairs hospital, has been such a success that last week it received a $50,000 grant from the Helen Bader Foundation to launch an all-veteran, fully-staged production of Julius Caesar.

In the hospital’s community room, professional actors stand next to the veterans to help them act out the dramatic scenes. They feed them the lines and story plot points, freeing them to concentrate on the emotions without having to memorize or hold a script. The process helps the veterans to strengthen the resources needed to overcome service-related trauma and daily stress. [keep reading…]

The Milwaukee Journal|Sentinel recently ran a feature story on the Feast Of Crispian:

Program helps veterans through words of Shakespeare

Achilles stared down Hector.

The two warriors warily circled each other, verbally flexing their muscles in a war of words. The scene comes late in Shakespeare’s play “Troilus and Cressida,” and Chris Nickrant (Achilles) and Jeff Peterson (Hector) had not memorized the lines where their characters boast how they will kill each other.

But on Sunday the Vietnam War veterans were Shakespearean actors for the day, acting out the emotional scene at Milwaukee’s Veterans Affairs hospital through an innovative program that pairs professional actors and directors with veterans to perform scenes from Shakespeare plays.

Called Feast of Crispian after the rallying cry in “Henry V,” the program helps veterans overcoming trauma, emotional issues, substance abuse or difficulties reintegrating into society through the words of Shakespeare. Many participants learn of the program while undergoing treatment at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center or from friends, or they see a flier and decide to check out the three-day free workshop.

“I fell in love with it,” said Nickrant, who served in the Air Force from 1970-’74. “It has enabled me to feel more self-confident. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish.”

Professional actors stand next to the veterans, feeding them the lines, giving definitions of tough words and asking questions to help them with emotions they should be feeling. The technique removes the stress of reading a difficult passage, so veterans can concentrate on the words. [keep reading…]

The Shepherd Express has just chosen our Feast Of Crispian project as their Heroes Of The Week:

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014
Feast of Crispian Participating Veterans and Volunteers
Heroes of the Week

The Battery Factory, a nonprofit organization that focuses on igniting new performance and visual arts projects and organizations, is currently backing Feast of Crispian (FoC), a nonprofit program that uses Shakespeare plays as a tool to help veterans struggling with emotional and reintegration issues. This program is available to veterans of all branches within or outside of the VA free-of-charge with no thresholds for entry (such as discharge status or proof of PTSD diagnosis). Professional actors have worked pro bono with more than 100 veterans at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center for close to two years now, using special performance techniques that allow vets to immediately speak lines and navigate emotional expression. FoC currently offers the workshop one weekend every other month.[keep reading…]

The Battery Factory’s sponsoree, Feast Of Crispian has made the news again, this time with both digital and radio appearances.  All of this press is in the run-up to their sixth Weekend Intensive workshop at the Milwaukee VA hospital, an “All Alumni” event.

Program Director Nancy Smith-Watson was interviewed by Bonnie North on WUWM’s Lake Effect program on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

Russ Bickerstaff of The Shepherd Express and Express Milwaukee wrote about the event in his Curtains blog, also Thursday, March 6, 2014.

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