Clinton School Impact Minute: Riverside Actors Theatre

In 2022, Ben Grimes launched the Riverside Actors Theatre, a unique initiative in Central Arkansas with a focus on addressing the needs of military veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and other service-related challenges.

Grimes, a commissioned officer in the National Guard, initiated his research for the Riverside Actors Theatre as part of his field service work as a student at the Clinton School of Public Service.

Focusing on research that showed success in treating PTSD and depression among service veterans, Grimes developed a treatment program that utilized group meetings, performance, and the texts of William Shakespeare.

Since its launch, Riverside Actors Theatre has worked with dozens of veterans and family members, using acting techniques, classical text, and storytelling to improve self-efficacy and resilience, and reduce the negative effects of trauma.

In June of 2023, Grimes was awarded a $10,000 Catalyze Fellowship Grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Windgate Foundation for his work with Riverside Actors Theatre.

The Clinton School Impact Minute is a recurring segment with Little Rock Public Radio, highlighting the Clinton School’s field service impact in Arkansas.

Since 2004, Clinton School students have completed more than 600 field service projects with nearly 300 organizations in Arkansas alone, creating immediate and long-term impact for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies across the state.


  • Martha Beck on March 6, 2024

    The book, “The Body Keeps the Scrore,” by Besser von der Kolk tells about a similar programs that uses “Ajax” by Sophocles. You might want to read about that and the person who runs the program, Brian Dorries the book discusses this on pages 333-334. The play has been well received by veterans and their who think Ajax is a “classic” example of PTSD.
    Best wishes.


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