2013 Shakespeare in Prisons Conference

- (part of a series)

Location: DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (View on map )

Shakespeare at Notre Dame presented its first-annual Shakespeare in Prisons Conference on November 1516, 2013.

Small Title Sipc

Shakespeare at Notre Dame was honored to host the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference, one of the world’s first major gatherings of prison arts practitioners, on November 15–16, 2013. Scholars and practitioners from South Africa, Australia, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and every corner of the United States were in attendance.

The primary focus of the conference was on how engagement with the works of William Shakespeare and the broader theatre arts within the prison setting promotes a habilitation of not only the inmate’s mind, but also the body, heart, and soul.

The success of this work was highlighted by public screenings of Shakespeare Behind Bars and Mickey B in the Browning Cinema at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. These two films perfectly illustrate the redemptive power of Shakespeare and its importance in cultivating a new sense of self in those whose past transgressions have left them with little or no hope for the future.

Curt Tofteland (founding director of Shakespeare Behind Bars) and Tom Magill (director of Mickey B and founder of the Educational Shakespeare Company in Belfast) presented Q&A sessions after each respective screening.

The conference served to break down the isolation inherent in the prison arts practitioner experience, linking global methodologies and practices together in an exploration of the power of the arts—and specifically Shakespeare—in the rehabilitation of incarcerated populations. Additionally, the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference sought to broaden the University of Notre Dame’s enduring commitment to exploring issues and collaboratively seeking solutions on questions of social justice.

Friday, November 15, 2013

1:00pm:  Opening Remarks and Introduction of SIPC Attendees

2:15pm:  PANEL – Shakespeare Inside: “Come, let’s away to prison!”

  • Moderator: Curt L. Tofteland - Founding Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars (KY and MI)
  • Laura Bates - Indiana State University
  • Lesley Schisgall Currier - Marin Shakespeare Company/San Quentin State Prison
  • Tauriq Jenkins - Independent Theatre Movement of South Africa
  • Johnny Stallings - Open Hearts Open Minds (Portland, OR)/Three Rivers Correctional Institute

4:00pm:  PANEL – Educating the Heart and Mind in Juvenile Corrections

  • Moderator:  Jill Leslie Rosenbaum - California State University at Fullerton
  • Christy Burgess - Robinson Community Learning Center/University of Notre Dame
  • Kevin Coleman - Shakespeare & Company/Shakespeare in the Courts
  • Zoe Parsigian - University of Michigan/Prison Creative Arts Project
  • Josie Whittlesey - Drama Club/Rehabilitation through the Arts/Sing Sing Correctional Facility

7:00pm:  SCREENING of Shakespeare Behind Bars followed by Q&A with Curt Tofteland
Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center - University of Notre Dame

Saturday, November 15, 2013

8:30am:  PANEL – Theatre Practice in Prison: Strategies for Engagement

  • Moderator:  Tom Magill - Founder of the Educational Shakespeare Company
  • Bridget Keehan - University of South Wales (Cardiff)/WIPN
  • Ashley Lucas - University of Michigan/Prison Creative Arts Project
  • Kate Powers - Rehabilitation through the Arts/Sing Sing Correctional Facility
  • Sabra Williams - The Actor’s Gang (Los Angeles, CA)

10:15am:  PANEL – Punishment Interrupted:  Prison Arts as Critical Sites for Women’s Activism Behind Bars

  • Moderator: Curt L. Tofteland - Founding Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars
  • Buzz Alexander - University of Michigan/Prison Creative Arts Project
  • Lisa Biggs - Michigan State University
  • Sherrin Fitzer - Logan Correctional Center (Illinois)
  • Frannie Shepherd-Bates - Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company (Detroit, MI)/Huron Valley Correctional Facility

12:45pm:  PANEL – Boal & Shakespeare in Prison

  • Moderator:  Elizabeth Charlebois - St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • Brent Blair - University of Southern California
  • Rob Pensalfini - University of Queensland/Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble
  • Jonathan Shailor - University of Wisconsin-Parkside/Shakespeare Prison Project
  • Agnes Wilcox - Prison Performing Arts (St. Louis, MO)

3:00pm:  SCREENING of Mickey B followed by Q&A with Tom Magill
Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center - University of Notre Dame

6:00pm:  DINNER and Closing Remarks (“Where do we go from here?”)
Morris Inn - University of Notre Dame

Unless otherwise noted, conference events occurred in the Philbin Studio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.