Shakespeare in the Criminal Justice System

A Panel Discussion

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

Free admission, Registration required


The Play

"You can let go of so much that you keep bottled up in side because you can find creative ways of expressing it."
—Inmate and workshop participant

Across the world, Shakespeare offers individuals who are incarcerated much-needed opportunities for reflection and self-expression, emotional support and the opportunity to cultivate self-esteem and communication skills. This panel of theater professionals, moderated by Lisa Wagner Carollo, Artistic Director of Still Point Theatre Collective, will share stories from their work collaborating with inmates on Shakespeare-focused programming in prison communities.   

The panel will feature: 

  • Itari Marta, ensemble member of Foro Shakespeare, one of Mexico City’s most inventive theater companies world-renowned for its social justice work and inventive spirit
  • Kate Powers, Shakespeare director and a facilitator with Rehabilitation Through The Arts at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY
  • Curt Tofteland, founder and producing director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, the oldest program of its kind in North America, serving incarcerated adults and youth using exclusively the work of Shakespeare
  • Agnes Wilcox, artistic director emerita of Prison Performing Arts, a 22-year old multi-disciplinary literacy and performing arts program serving incarcerated adults and young people throughout St. Louis
  • Haisan T. Williams, advocate and past participant in the Wisconsin-based Shakespeare Prison Project from 2004 to 2008 where he performed multiple roles, including the lead in Othello, while incarcerated at Racine Correctional Institution



Gallery: Gallery: Shakespeare Programs in Prisons

Video:Othello: The Remix at Cook County Jail


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