Our son Jim is actively involved in this program. (In the photo above are pictured the actors in the December 2016 production of Meerkats in Space. See Jim in the back row, 3rd from right in meerkat costume)
The stage will be a place dedicated to performance. Jim‘s experience has been that theater gives the inmates an opportunity to express themselves, to work together toward a common goal, and to learn to collaborate in a diverse environment. Twenty to thirty inmates are presently involved in the theater production team.
A continued focus of Jim’s is to increase and improve the creative arts opportunities for those incarcerated at the prison. A large part of that effort has been to continue building the theater program. In the spring of 2010, Jim helped form Sheird Wit Theater Troupe. Over the last eight years the inmates have written and produced and performed in several original plays. Yearly musical in-prison concerts are also produced.
Before they even begin using the stage for performances, the construction of the stage gives inmates a chance to meaningfully contribute, work together, and hone their woodworking skills. Already the designer of the stage (see plans below) is excited to share his accomplishment with his children hoping to inspire their involvement in school theater.
Once built, the stage will be put to immediate use at rehearsals, and the performance of the next play. Shortly after, the prison band will use the stage for their fall concert. And since the stage is designed to be modular, portable and durable, it can be stored and re-used for a wide variety of performance events in the future such as plays, music concerts, holiday events, guest speakers and more. Having a stage will improve the audience’s experience by creating an authentic live theater atmosphere with greater audibility and visibility of the performers during the events.
The benefit of a theater arts and music program is about self development. It’s about learning new skills, learning what it means to be in unity and develop community. Prison arts programs around the country have been shown to build self esteem . If interested, Below are links to articles related to benefits of theater in prisons.
We'll keep you posted. Those who donate will receive updates about the performing arts at the New Hampshire State Prison for men. Jim would love to share posters, playbills, photos and videos of their projects, when approved, and will send details on the progress of future events utilizing the stage you helped them build.
- Ronald Allen
- kevin ellis
- Coltere and Rebecca Savidge
- Joan Feierabend
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