Somewhere between 200,000 and 540,000 veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are afflicted with serious mental health issues, often compounded with alcohol or other drug abuse issues.
Shocking? A group of Milwaukee artists thought so, and in April of 2012 set out to find a way to help. The result is the Feast Of Crispian (FoC).
Feast Of Crispian, from Shakespeare’s Henry V, is a rallying cry from the young King to his troops in the moments before battle. We are a program that rallies, brings together, veterans with theatre practitioners to use the plays of Shakespeare in addressing service related trauma and reintegration issues.
Feast Of Crispian is a free program for veterans seeking help with PTSD and other reintegration issues.
What Does FoC Do? Through experiential exercises, open and honest discussion and scene work that allows for important stories to be told, we build personal connections and give voice to the human condition.
“I found an inner reserve of emotions that I now have a way to tap, to access some of the pain and express it in a safe and healthy way.”
— USAF Veteran participant
Whom Do We Serve? FoC seeks to serve veterans of all military branches – active, reserve or guard – and any discharge status. Our current work is both within the VA and outside of it. We do not discriminate based on status, nor do we have thresholds for entry – we don’t demand a diagnosis with PTSD, for example – asking only for the commitment to work with us with the same respect we promise to show our participants.
“I am a retired Army soldier who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and found Feast of Crispian to offer a unique way to positively deal with my combat experiences. I strongly recommend Feast of Crispian to my fellow Veterans to help pave a positive approach toward healing and recovery.”
– Andrew Hendrickson, RN
Theater is the soldier’s art form. Theater began as a way for the warriors’ community to gather and hear the stories of battle. Together a community honors and cares for their defenders.
“Feast of Crispian is a unique way for Veterans to work on issues as well as for the ‘Audience Community’ to have a greater understanding of veterans and what they face after service. The result is a powerfully effective and therapeutic experience for veterans and a unique leveling of roles for veterans and staff.”
– Sheppard Crumrine, MT-BC, MSW
The Battery Factory is proud to be associated with Feast of Crispian. Starting in April of 2012, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with the brilliant, thoughtful and committed theater practitioners of FoC as they developed this truly inspirational program. From providing manpower and facilities, to handling political contacts, securing funds for in-program meals for participants, and other support services, we’ve been there to see it through.
Feast of Crispian is the first of our Jump Start projects. It is our goal that within a year, Feast of Crispian will be a free-standing, sustainable arts non-profit entity, independent from The Battery Factory.