Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre by Jonathan Shailor book signing and presentation

Jonathan Shailor, Curt Tofteland and Meade Palidofsky will be at after-words books on Thursday, February 24th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. signing copies of their book Performing New Lives.  There will be a wine reception following the presentation.  Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Paperback, $37.95)

Performing New Lives draws together some of the most original and innovative programs in contemporary prison theatre. Leading prison theatre directors and practitioners discuss the prison theatre experience first-hand, and offer valuable insights into its role, function, and implementation. A wide range of prison theatre initiatives are discussed, from long-running, high-profile programs such as Curt Tofteland's Shakespeare Behind Bars in LaGrange, Kentucky, to fledgling efforts like Jodi Jinks' Arts Aloud project in Austin, Texas.  Here in Chicago we have Meade Palidofsky’s Storycatchers Theatre.

This book is essential reading for drama therapists, theatre artists, and prison educators, as well as academics. Excerpts of interviews with inmates, and a conversation between practitioners in the final chapter, reveal the impact that prison theatre programs have on the performers themselves, as well as audience members, and the wider community.

Three national leaders in prison theatre will read from their new book, and will discuss how their theatre programs function behind prison walls as vehicles for prisoners' reintegration into society.

Jonathan Shailor (editor and author) has been teaching and facilitating The Theatre of Empowerment in Wisconsin prisons for over 15 years.  Jonathan's work has been celebrated in The New York Times and on Wisconsin Public Radio.  

Curt Tofteland (author) is a professional producer/director/actor and award-winning playwright, and the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB) program (now in its 16th year). SBB has been featured in an award-winning documentary which premiered at the Sundance Festival: Shakespeare Behind Bars.  

Meade Palidofsky (author) is an award-winning playwright, lyricist, director, youth development specialist.  Meade is the Founding Director of Storycatchers Theatre (formerly Music Theatre Workshop) now in its 27th year.  It is dedicated to the healing and development of youth in juvenile detention centers and prisons in the Chicago area.  Storycatchers has been featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary, Girls on the Wall.