2020 Shakespeare in Prisons Conference Information

Author: James Comerford

Join our panel discussions!

Join us for a series of panel discussions and live Q&As addressing topics of immediate concern to the prison arts practitioner community in the shadow of COVID-19.

SIPC4 registration opens August 3, 2020!

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The 4th international Shakespeare in Prisons Conference (SiPC4) will be held virtually from October 19-November 20, 2020. Produced in partnership with the Folger Institute.

Building on three previous conferences (2013, 2016, and 2018), the SiPC gathers theatre arts practitioners, researchers, and scholars who are currently engaged with or interested in programs for incarcerated (and post-incarcerated) populations. Designed to stimulate discussion through speakers, performances, and workshop sessions offering case studies and best practices within the Shakespeare behind bars movement, this conference considers a number of questions:

  • What is the nature of Shakespeare’s exploration of prisons, prisoners, and the post-incarcerated, and how might Shakespeare speak to the realities of prison life in the United States and the experiences of returning citizens today?
  • What are the possibilities for academic research on this work and its implications for future directions in Shakespeare studies, and how might that research intersect with, for instance, work on gender and sexuality, disability, childhood, and educational practices and pedagogies?

Scholars and practitioners who are interested in sharing their experiences or learning how one works with Shakespeare and incarcerated populations are welcome to attend. 

SiPC4 Organizing Committee:

  • Freedome Bradley-Ballentine is the Director of Arts Engagement at the Old Globe in San Diego.
  • Melinda Cooper is an independent project manager and activist living in Virginia.
  • Karen Ann Daniels is the Director of the Public Theater's Mobile Unit in NYC.
  • Peter Holland is the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies and Associate Dean for the Arts at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Scott Jackson is the Mary Irene Ryan Family Executive Director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame.
  • Curt Tofteland is Founding Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars.
  • Praycious Wilson-Gay is the Coordinator of the Public Theatre's Mobile Unit in NYC.

Keynotes, panels, breakouts, and performances will be held online via YouTube, Zoom, Facebook and other virtual platforms. A full listing of offerings will be published on Monday, August 3, 2020.

Registration for this online convening will commence on Monday, August 3, 2020.

Conference Proposals:
The Organizing Committee is currently accepting proposals and session ideas HERE until July 6, 2020.

Join the conversation:
Stay current on conference developments and special programs leading up to SiPC4 by joining the Shakespeare in Prisons Network Facebook group. You may also receive updates via email by sending us a message.