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Juvenile Justice Programme

Juvenile Justice Programme

Bell Shakespeare’s renowned Juvenile Justice programme commenced in 2010 at two NSW facilities – Frank Baxter and Juniperina Juvenile Justice centres – with the support of the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice. Since then, the programme has expanded successfully with incredible impact and is now delivered at Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre NSW, Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre NSW, Parkville and Malmsbury Youth Justice Centres in VIC, and in 2018 will commence in regional NSW.

This incredible program would not be possible without the generous and visionary support of trusts and foundations including the Bill & Patricia Ritchie Foundation, the Neilson Foundation and the Scully Fund.

Scroll down to find out more about Kings of Baxter, the recent Grumpy Sailor production, documenting juvenile justice detainees journey in discovering Macbeth.

The programs are tailored to suit each centre and the needs of participants and staff, yet each uses a Shakespeare play as a basis for self-reflection and self-improvement: through exploring his myriad of characters, participants reflect on their own lives and decisions and consider other possibilities which are open to them. As Ophelia says in Hamlet (Act IV, Scene V):

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

Storytelling is a key communicative device and effective learning tool used across cultures, age groups and languages. Shakespeare’s stories have existed for more than 400 years and show no sign of losing their popularity, the world over.

At first it just seemed like an acting class but gradually over time it was something more than that, we became a family and were able to interact with each other without any difficulties or boundaries. We all accepted each other as one and did not let anything come in between us. The class has had an optimistic influence on my life too, helping me express myself and not being shy. All of these skills that I have acquired were not with me before. I will never forget what they have done with me and the boys and will forever cherish our memories.
Name withheld, Participant
Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre

These articles written by Joyce Morgan for The Australian and Liam Pieper for Fairfax, tell their story.


This programme is only made possible through generous donations. If you would like to help us continue to work in juvenile detention centres, and other at-risk communities throughout Australia, please consider donating.


For more information please contact Debra Reinecke, Head of Development, on 02 8298 9082 or debrar@bellshakespeare.com.au


Kings of Baxter is an engaging, touching and at times funny, documentary following juvenile justice detainees as they create a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The film shadows passionate Bell Shakespeare educators, James and Huw, and their struggle to get through to the boys, documenting our landmark education program in Frank Baxter Juvenile Detention Centre. Follow the boys beyond the bravado, fear and self-doubt, over three months of rehearsal, leading up to a final performance for friends, family and fellow inmates.

Winner of the Best Australian Documentary, and the Audience selected favourite documentary at the Antenna Documentary Film Festival, this documentary is compulsory viewing for anyone interested in how Shakespeare’s work can change lives. Teachers can also access the ATOM Study Guide to assist their teaching of the documentary.

Official Trailer
ABC Lateline Interview
ABC National Interview ( 9/10/17)

Kings of Baxter is a Grumpy Sailor production, produced in association with Foxtel Arts, Screen NSW and Screen Australia.

The documentary is available on DVD, to purchase please contact claire@grumpysailor.com