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For juveniles sentenced to Shakespeare, the world's a stage

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/22/2017 By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer
In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, Kevin Coleman, right rear, director of education at Shakespeare & Co., works with a teenage man, left rear, playing the role of a soldier, as another young man, left front, portraying Macbeth, practices a sword fight with another young man, right front, portraying Macduff during a rehearsal for Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, Massachusetts, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare onstage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, Kevin Coleman, right rear, director of education at Shakespeare & Co., works with a teenage man, left rear, playing the role of a soldier, as another young man, left front, portraying Macbeth, practices a sword fight with another young man, right front, portraying Macduff during a rehearsal for Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, Massachusetts, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare onstage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Some juvenile offenders in Massachusetts are offered a choice straight out of "Hamlet": to act or not to act.

In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, education artist A.D. Newcomer, right, coaches three young women as they rehearse the roles of witches for Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, education artist A.D. Newcomer, right, coaches three young women as they rehearse the roles of witches for Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention.

In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, a young man, 17, playing the role of Macbeth, learns from Kevin Coleman, right, how to handle a sword for a scene in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, a young man, 17, playing the role of Macbeth, learns from Kevin Coleman, right, how to handle a sword for a scene in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

For the last 17 years, Shakespeare in the Courts has been used to sentence youths accused of a variety of lower-level crimes, including larceny, vandalism and assault and battery.

In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, teaching artist Tom Giordano holds a script for a scene as youth rehearse Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, teaching artist Tom Giordano holds a script for a scene as youth rehearse Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The probation officers, teachers and others who work in the program hope it will help the teens fulfill a commitment and foster a sense of pride.

In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, education artist A.D. Newcomer, rear, works with children during a break-out session to review a new scene during a rehearsal for Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, education artist A.D. Newcomer, rear, works with children during a break-out session to review a new scene during a rehearsal for Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Eight teens will perform scenes and monologues from various Shakespeare plays on March 22.

In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, teenage women, both of Pittsfield, Mass., rehearse their roles of Hermia and Helena with Jennie Jadow, left, director of the Shakespeare in the Courts Program, and teaching artist Tom Giordano, right, during a rehearsal of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, teenage women, both of Pittsfield, Mass., rehearse their roles of Hermia and Helena with Jennie Jadow, left, director of the Shakespeare in the Courts Program, and teaching artist Tom Giordano, right, during a rehearsal of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Pittsfield, Mass. Shakespeare & Company, a theater company in Lenox, works with the courts to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, Berkshire Juvenile Court First Justice Joan McMenemy poses for a photograph in front of a portrait of retired Judge Paul Perachi in Pittsfield, Mass. Perachi had worked with Shakespeare & Co., a theater company in Lenox, Mass., to develop a program to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. McMenemy has continued the program. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) © The Associated Press In this Thursday, March 2, 2017 photo, Berkshire Juvenile Court First Justice Joan McMenemy poses for a photograph in front of a portrait of retired Judge Paul Perachi in Pittsfield, Mass. Perachi had worked with Shakespeare & Co., a theater company in Lenox, Mass., to develop a program to get youngsters who run afoul of the law sentenced to perform works of Shakespeare on stage as an alternative to community service or juvenile detention. McMenemy has continued the program. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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