This evening the men discussed the values that they want to focus on during the remainder of our work together. Everyone came in with a written statement, which he read aloud to the group. Over a period of two and a half hours, we listened to each other, and reflected on what each man had to say. I compiled their statements and created the following mission statement, which the men reviewed and ratified on January 18.
THE SHAKESPEARE PRISON PROJECT
We, the members of The Shakespeare Prison Project,
dedicate ourselves to the following values:
MEANINGFUL WORK – we are finding meaning in the stories we tell, the characters we play, and the work we do together; appreciating the value of this work as a resource and a refreshment
CONTRIBUTION – we are giving everything we’ve got, and then some – to play a part bigger than just our character – we are contributing in all areas – as actors, and as members of an ensemble – doing the work that needs to be done, contributing to discussions, listening and responding to each other
TEAMWORK – we are taking and giving, leading and following, assisting and encouraging each other
INTEGRITY – we are always seeking the good and doing what is right, no matter who is (or is not) looking
GROWTH – we are growing in our abilities as actors and ensemble members – and growing as human beings
POSITIVE INFLUENCE – we are breaking our negative and self-destructive cycles, serving as an example to others, and bringing light to all who participate in the project – including ourselves, the prison community, and all who are inspired by our work
SELF-DISCIPLINE – we are buckling down and doing the work – knowing that no one else will do it for us – memorizing our lines – showing up on time – refraining from distractions – keeping our demons and temptations in check – and doing the right thing
KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM – we are learning more about ourselves and others every day, appreciating the wisdom of Dr. Shailor and the veterans, coming out of our shells, learning new skills, and developing more effective ways to communicate with each other
KINDNESS – we are showing kindness to ourselves (through self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-respect), and kindness to others (noticing others, listening to them, having empathy for their situation, understanding their needs, helping without being asked, making ourselves useful) – all with gentleness and humor
MASTERY – we are striving for excellence in all aspects of our work – knowing our lines, their meaning, the context, our cues; we are striving for excellence in performance by expressing the emotional truth of a scene through our voice and our body language – inspired and informed by each other, our director, and our veterans
LOYALTY – we are steadfastly committed to each other, and to each other’s benefit
May our work be of benefit to everyone.