I am Lara Mielcarek. I am an Equity actress in Cleveland, Ohio. I started this program in Spring of 2016 and although my longterm plan includes becoming a non-profit (and thereby not having to go through GOFUNDME for campaigning), I have not done that yet and I must ask for your help today!

We need new T-Shirts! Everything below this sentence is from a former campaign, but if you've never donated to A.R.C.- it can provide more information on what we do!

We are raising money for ARC (Artist Rehabilitation Coalition), a "Shakespeare behind bars" program.
Right now we are working with 10 female inmates at the N.E.R.C., in Cleveland focusing our energies on their public performance of MACBETH in mid-May. We need money for the simplest of things which I'll list below and we would love to start saving toward a wish list for the next project. 

I heard the episode of This American Life titled, "Act V", in 2002 and had to pull over in my car while listening because tears were streaming down my face. The men at a correctional facility in Missouri were performing Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, one chunk at a time. This podcast follows the men performing the final act. Their own stories become interwoven with the vast circumstances that Shakespeare provides and it was breathtaking. Seriously- go listen to it.

I may have been moved, but for those inmates, it was life changing.

In 2013 I became involved as a volunteer at a wonderful program here in Cleveland called ODAG (Oberlin Drama at Grafton). It's lead by a fiercely devoted retired English prof named Phyllis. After she introduced herself at one of my shows, I went to Grafton as a visiting artist. I got to know the men,  and then I worked with them and then I was hooked. It was so rewarding. And I could see- on the instant sometimes- what it was doing for these inmates. I worked first with them on their production of The Tempest in 2014 and then on Othello in 2015. Phyllis brought their production of Othello to the women's facility, NERC. The women wanted their own program and all eyes fell on me! I was the one to do it. 

What does a theatre program do for an inmate?
-rate of recidivism for one thing

- communication skills
-voice and speech
-critical thinking
-ensemble/team building
-discipline and time management

Thank you for your consideration. The word "rewarding" is cliche and doesn't cover it. We feel  a sense of absolute purpose every Wednesday and Thursday at 6!

Your help would mean the world to me and to these women,  hungry for learning, growth and opportunity; excited as school girls to spend 4 hours out of their week being kings, queens, clowns and villains in circumstances and stories beyond anything they've imagined... and yet finding themselves and their humanity within those Time-worn tales. Be a part of that. I guarantee its ultimate worth.

I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks; and ever thanks.
-Sebastian, Twelfth Night


Lara Lyn Veronica Mielcarek
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Lara Mielcarek
Lakewood, OH

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