Shakespeare with Veterans, 2023-2024 season

Organization Image

A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Kentucky Shakespeare
Fundraiser image

Shakespeare with Veterans is a Kentucky Shakespeare program offered free of charge to all veterans.


raised by 38 people

$4,000 goal

Support military veterans in your community through


Shakespeare with Veterans is a Kentucky Shakespeare program in its 8th year, offered free of charge to veterans in the community. 

Military veterans can feel unmoored when they leave the service – unaccustomed to civilian life, uncomfortable having to explain their time in the service. Shakespeare with Veterans is part of a growing network of programs using art to reach veterans who need a new home, a new unit, a new mission. We also use public performances to help connect the U.S. military to U.S. civilians, promoting understanding and empathy.

A group of men standing in a roomDescription automatically generatedLandell Riley and Dan Minton perform, summer 2022

Shakespeare with Veterans meets weekly at the Louisville Vet Center and performs annually on the Kentucky Shakespeare stage. Most participants have no history with performance or Shakespeare when they join, and all end up feeling the accomplishment of sharing their work with the public. 

Shakespeare with Veterans celebrates its 7th anniversary

The weekly group sessions are even more important than the performances. Just being in a place where no one questions them, where everyone understands each other’s references and (crucially!) jokes – it’s healing. When anyone chooses to talk about difficult experiences or their own emotions, they can do it through the lens of Shakespeare’s characters and stories. The bond of trust we establish by doing something just outside their comfort zone is key to the longevity and success of Shakespeare with Veterans.

The current group consists of women and men who are veterans of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, representing conflicts from Vietnam to today, with former ranks from Specialist to Brigadier General. ALL veterans are welcome to participate. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, this program offered at no cost to participants.

 A group of people standing in front of a buildingDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceSteven Gardiner, with Rich Goranson, Susan Stoy, Landell Riley, and Debbie Sawyer, summer 2022

Kentucky Shakespeare is not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization, and we provide this program at no cost to participants or audience members. We seek support once a year to fund this work, and we invite you to contribute today!


Current participants, several of whom have been a part of the group from the beginning:


"It's been 13 years since I left the service and this is the first time a group has worked for me." -US Army veteran, Afghanistan

"This group has helped me gain control over what my emotions do. It’s also helped me relate to civilians better.”  -US Navy veteran, Vietnam

"We're all warriors - whether it's the Vikings, or Shakespeare's time, or us. The warrior's heart is the same." -US Army veteran, Vietnam

"This group is the only place I can really let my guard down. I feel so much more human after being here." -US Army veteran of cold war era

"This group is accepting and I feel comfortable here. While we're here we don't feel like we're broken. We know these are normal reactions to experiences we've had." - Indiana Army Reserves soldier 

"We can just let our guard down here. Shakespeare pushes things to the surface that we need to deal with." -US Air Force veteran, Operation Desert Storm


Donor Benefits

100% of your donations go toward sustaining this group and funding our performances and outreach. The link below outlines all the benefits of being a Kentucky Shakespeare donor, ranging from playbill inclusion to VIP access and beyond. 

More information here.



Giving Activity


Log in to leave a comment. Log in