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Indiana professor teaches Shakespeare to inmates

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – Dr. Jack Heller is an English professor at Huntington University. While he’s not there, he’s spending some of his time at the Pendleton Correctional Facility teaching more than a dozen inmates about Shakespeare.

Heller is co-directing a group of 18 inmates at Pendleton Correctional Facility in the Shakespeare play, “Coriolanus,” with Dr. Stacy Erickson, associate professor of English at Manchester University. Since 2013, Heller has made weekly trips to the maximum security men’s prison in Pendleton.

“We worked together to decide what we would like to do,” said Dr. Heller. “The men settled upon a play that would have to do with choices and the mistakes that we make.”

The play is about a man with an anger problem. While “Coriolanus” is a lesser-known Shakespeare play, its themes hit home with many of the inmates.

“All of them, I think, know and experience where they having a hard time with authorities,” Heller said. “I think this play really reaches and interest the men.”

Only 100 people will be able to see the play, including other prisoners and staff.

The play will take place Thursday, which also happens to be Shakespeare’s birthday.