The Emily List Fund for Performing Arts Therapy has been established by Emily's family to honor her memory as an actor, a dancer, a reviewer and a lover of the performing arts. The Fund will be used to support theater, dance and music projects aimed at helping the sick and disadvantaged in the interest of making their lives better and brighter through the performing arts.

Grant Recipients


Shakespeare in PrisonShakespeare in Prison,” founded by Frannie Shepherd-Bates, received a grant to facilitate the staging of plays like “Othello” by women in the Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Frannie said the program, under the auspices of the Detroit Public Theatre, “empowers inmates through theatre exercises and Shakespearean text to think creatively, re-examine decisions they’ve made, become more in touch with their emotions and develop crucial life skills to be used both in and out of prison.”

The group chooses a play, then works for nine months toward a fully staged performance for the prison community.  Through the process, the women learn public speaking, literacy, teamwork and leadership skills. They are heard and respected, Frannie said, and they learn to trust. 

After four years, she said, the recidivism rate for participants is only 11%, compared to the national rate of 67%.

Emily was an accomplished Shakespearean actor, and before she fell ill again, she was working with colleagues in Winchester, England, to bring theater to people who were homeless and incarcerated. She would love what Frannie is doing and would be proud to support it.