Bringing The World Home To You

© 2022 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Military

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Bringing Shakespeare To Bragg

Joseph Henderson addresses a group of students enrolled at a summer arts enrichment program at Fort Bragg.
Rodrigo Dorfman
/
Joseph Henderson addresses a group of students enrolled at a summer arts enrichment program at Fort Bragg.

Joseph Henderson was inspired to use his training as an actor and children's educator to help military children and their families.  

He and a team of instructors launched Shakespeare on Base, a free, two-week summer program teaching dancing, art, singing, and, of course, Shakespeare. In 2011, the program served roughly 50 children at Fort Bragg between the ages five to 17. Those with deployed parents got first priority.

Ft. Bragg Stories logo

At first, Henderson recalled, it was a challenge to get the children to relax and embrace their creativity.

"When they were able to let go, and be free with their expression, and to create, it was an enormous moment in those rooms," he said. "It gave the parents a chance to see their children in a whole new light."

Showcasing the performing arts in a military environment turned out to be, as he put it, "a wonderful marriage" of structure and creative expression.

But after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, Henderson got a call from the United Way of Cumberland County saying equipment for the program, which was stored in the basement, had been destroyed by flooding. Keyboards, sets and costumes were all ruined. Despite the setback, Henderson hopes to continue the program, and expand it.

"There are over 800 military bases across the world," he said. "I think the very least we could do is two weeks of arts enriched summer camps for kids who are on those bases. I would like to do it again. It's the very, very best I can do."

Ft. Bragg Stories is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the series here. If you'd like to share your Fort Bragg story, you can send it here, or email fortbraggstories@wunc.org

Related Stories
More Stories