SOU Curt Tolfteland Shakespeare in Prison

Oregon Center for the Arts and ShakespeareAMERICA present “Shakespeare in Prison”

The Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU and ShakespeareAMERICA will present “Shakespeare in Prison” from 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Art Building’s Meese Auditorium on the SOU campus.

The event will include a screening of the acclaimed 2005 documentary, “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” and a panel discussion featuring the director of the prison performance chronicled in the film and one of its actors. There is no admission charge.

David McCandless – director of Shakespeare studies at SOU and organizer of the event –said “Shakespeare in Prison” will address the unique ways in which performing Shakespeare’s plays helps inmates move beyond a criminal past and toward a successful re-integration into society.

The event will begin with a brief lecture from Oakland University (Michigan) Professor Niels Herold, entitled “Transformative Play in Pericles Behind Bars.” Herold is the author of “Prison Shakespeare and the Purpose of Performance.” The screening of “Shakespeare Behind Bars” will follow.

Hailed by critics as a moving tribute to the transformative power of Shakespeare’s art, “Shakespeare Behind Bars” captures the efforts of theatre professional Curt Tofteland to stage a production of “The Tempest” at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Kentucky.

Tofteland, who went on to found the national organization “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” will take part in the panel discussion that will follow the SOU screening. He will be joined by Sammie Byron, a returned citizen who is prominently featured in the film. Other panelists include Lesley Currier, managing director of Marin Shakespeare Company and founder of “Shakespeare for Social Justice,” a program facilitating Shakespearean performance at eight California state prisons; and Dameion Brown, an alumnus of Currier’s program at Solano State Prison, who is now a professional actor in the Bay Area.

ShakespeareAMERICA was founded by David Humphrey, director of the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, and Paul Nicholson, executive director emeritus at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Past events of ShakespeareAmerica – a project to bridge Shakespeare performance and scholarship – have included “Multi-Cultural Shakespeare,” “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” and a “A Conversation with Peter Sellars.“

Reposted from Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU