Welcome to The Time for Words. Yes, it’s yet another SIP blog — but this one is totally different!

Here, our extended family — facilitators old and new, visiting guests, and, of course, alumni — can share reflections, essays, poetry, visual art… Grocery lists? Probably not grocery lists. You get the idea!

If you’re a member of the SIP community and you’d like to contribute — huzzah! Email Frannie to get the process started. We’d absolutely love to share your work.

To kick things off, here’s a reflection from a recent alumna (which you may have seen in a DPT production program).

“I was a member of the ensemble for four seasons. I was able to open up a part of myself with these women that had been closed off for so many years leading up to my incarceration. Through our discussions of the text, it became abundantly clear to me that we shared a lot of the same experiences - physical and emotional abuse, addiction, codependency, etc. But nobody was playing the blame game. We were growing and healing through discussion and the bond of the stage. In my four years as a member, I learned a great deal about myself. I learned what motivates me, as well as others, and part of that was through character study. Turns out that Shakespeare is timeless. The same issues we are dealing with today were relevant in his day - the pursuit of power and prestige, family conflicts, societal breakdowns, internal battles.

As a former heroin addict, I was (and still can be) looked at as a lost cause, but I was never treated that way in SIP. My voice mattered and my opinion was valued. Getting on stage turned out to be a natural high unlike anything I had experienced. It was empowering and thrilling to accomplish a nine-month goal in a place where marginalization and negativity dominate. Every Tuesday and Friday evening, I was a person again, not just a number.

I have been home for just over four months and it has been better than I could have ever imagined. I accredit a lot of my success and adaptability to SIP. Prison saved my life and I will forever be grateful that I was given another opportunity at life. SIP helped to give back my identity, and that is something no words can describe.

I am in the process of starting my own Shakespeare program for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Frannie, Matt, Kyle, and Lauren have been my biggest cheerleaders and supporters, encouraging me to follow through with this dream of mine. I believe that Shakespeare has the ability to change lives and I want to continue to be a part of that. It is impossible for me to talk about SIP without getting emotional, and even now I am tearing up thinking about the transformations I have seen and personally experienced through this program.”

We’ll post more when we’ve got more! Stay tuned…