Because each person's life is balanced on the edge of a sword

                                           Because each person's life is balanced on the edge of a sword

Hamlet Project Durham

Hamlet Project Durham is a six-year (work on HPD began in July 2014) artistic, career-training, social justice, cultural transformation project constructed around an intentionally multi-racial core group of, initially, 10 - 20 nine to twelve-year-old actors, preparing to perform William Shakespeare’s masterwork “Hamlet” in Spring 2020.

With significant community support, we intend to create a model for using the multiple educational opportunities inherent in theatre arts to transform systemic patterns of poverty based on race in the United States. We will achieve this by training all participants in career fields available through theatre, and helping to bridge participants from HPD into educational and work positions that will further their goals. CLICK HERE to download "Introduction to Hamlet Project Durham."

Why Use William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet?”

“Hamlet” is widely regarded as one of the greatest plays written in the English language and our students deserve the best – plus 

 "The time is out of joint. O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right."  William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, sc. 5

Hamlet, the young Danish prince who is the central character in the story, struggles with almost immobilizing uncertainty about how to live ethically and act effectively in challenging, “out-of-joint,” times. When charged by his father’s ghost to respond to the unthinkable act of brother killing brother, young Hamlet is torn between rage and despair and contemplates suicide.  His friends admire and try to support Hamlet as he teeters on the sharp edge of a sword, but he feels isolated by the responsibility laid on him by his father with the words, “Remember me.” Increasingly alone, he cannot determine how to live up to what the time and place demand, succumbing instead to the violent forces surrounding him.

Is there a happy ending possible for this young prince? We know there is not. We recognize this as a tragic tale, a tale both old and tragically new. We hope in the new age there can be, if not a fairytale happy ending, at least accessible paths to active and satisfying lives for all our children. With HPD, we work to create positive possibilities among groups of young men and women living in “out-of-joint” times and faced with the responsibility to solve nearly unbearable, life-or-death problems. We are convinced there could be no better play than William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with which to accomplish the goals of this project.