Shakespeare and Autism Project

The Shakespeare and Autism project is a ground-breaking, collaborative research project between The Ohio State University Department of Theatre and the Wexner Medical Center's Nisonger Center, funded by The Ohio State University's Outreach and Engagement Impact Grant. The project engages the question of whether drama – particularly Shakespeare – can break through the communicative blocks of autism.

Teams of Theatre students from the Department of Theatre, led by Professor Post, bring Kelly Hunter's work to children on the spectrum in Columbus City Schools. The research team from the Nisonger Center administers tests to determine the effectiveness of the work to affect change to the core features of autism.

"The distinctive methodology I have created uses Shakespeare to release the communicative blocks within children with autism. Two major themes underpin the work: the rhythm of the iambic pentameter, which creates the sound of a heartbeat, within which the children feel safe to communicate. The second is an exploration of the mind's eye, allowing children to explore imaginative worlds, which may otherwise be locked away." Kelly Hunter


Kelly HunterShakespeare’s Heartbeat Ohio State Theatre I Nisonger Center I Columbus City Schools I Haugland Learning Center I Nationwide Children's Autism Treatment Network