Tuesday, March 1, 2011



A Conversation with Artists Behind Bars on the Power and Potential of Prison Theatre

Thursday, March 17, 6:30 – 8:30pm

The Actor’s Company Theatre Studio, 900 Broadway, Suite 905

$25 in advance/$30 at the door; $10 Students/Unemployed

Across the United States — behind bars and mostly under the radar — artists, educators and activists are working with prisoners to create exciting and varied theatre: plays by Shakespeare and Becket, Greek tragedies, modern classics, and original pieces woven together from the stories and experiences of the prisoners themselves. Now, for the first time, a collection of essays has been published that documents this work on a broad scale: Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). The book is a collection of 17 essays representing 14 programs across the country. Editor/author Jonathan Shailor and eight other contributors to this volume (all of them facilitators of prison theatre programs) will share stories of their work, engage the audience in dialogue, and sign copies of the book, which will be available at a discount.


Brent Buell is a New York City author, actor, director, and social activist who worked for many years with Rehabilitation Through the Arts at Sing Sing and two other prisons. Judy Dworin has been developing collaborative multi-arts residencies at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT for the past seven years through her Hartford-based non-profit, the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP). Sharon Lajoie is an actress, director and professor of theatre who for many years taught theatre classes and staged productions at New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. John McCabe-Juhnke facilitates Theater Arts Workshops for Arts in Prison, Inc. and Prison Arts Project at the Lansing and Hutchinson Correctional Facilities in Kansas. Meade Palidofsky, playwright, lyricist, director and youth development specialist, is the founding Artistic Director of Storycatchers Theatre in Chicago. Palidofsky’s work with girls in prison is the subject of an Emmy Award-winning documentary, Girls on the Wall. Teya Sepinuck is the founder and director of Theatre of Witness, which gives voice to those who have been marginalized or are “invisible” in society. She has worked with men serving life sentences at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution in Chester. Jonathan Shailor created The Shakespeare Prison Project at Racine Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, and has facilitated theatre programs in prisons for over 15 years. Julia Taylor has facilitated theatre and creative writing workshops in both men’s and women’s prisons and in juvenile facilities as a member of the Prison Creative Arts Project. Jean Trounstine has been teaching and directing plays with women in prison and on probation since 1986. She is the author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women’s Prison.

To register, go to www.eastsideinstitute.org and click on “Events,” or contact Melissa Meyer, 212.941.8906, ext 304, mmeyer@eastsideinstitute.org.

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