Bringing professional theatre to the Henry Viscardi School.
When it comes to studying Shakespeare, reading his works is only half of the journey at the Henry Viscardi School. Thanks to the generosity of the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, his classic plays come to life each year on Viscardi’s Ralph & Lucy Palleschi Family Foundation Stage with performances from Massachusetts-based Shakespeare & Company.
The troupe recently brought a high-energy adaptation of “Hamlet” to Viscardi and spent time with students during their lunch hour to discuss the play’s themes. On-site productions not only strengthen the curriculum, but also allow students, many of whom have severe physical disabilities, to experience professional theatre for the first time.
“Exposure to the arts expands perspectives and encourages students to engage with what they’re learning in different ways,” says Barry R. Shapiro, chair of the Sohn Foundation and a member of The Viscardi Center’s Board of Directors.
“When you look at the statistics, most kids at the Henry Viscardi School go on to pursue college. The experiences they have inspire them to achieve.”
The Sohn Foundation supports a range of causes related to environment, health care, and the arts for those who are underserved, particularly young people. In addition to theatrical arts, the Foundation has supported several “green” initiatives at Viscardi, including hydroponic gardening and funding for educational Earth Day activities.
Shapiro’s philanthropy has touched Viscardi for over 30 years, and he remains energized about improving the outlook for young people with disabilities in the future.
“At the Henry Viscardi School, there are many opportunities to make a direct and immediate impact. It’s a remarkable place where I have received far more by being involved than I could possibly give.”