PRISON ARTS PROGRAM
Dell'Arte in partnership with the California Arts Council's Arts in Corrections
For questions, inquiries, and to participate on our returned citizens committee, please contact Program Director Janessa Johnsrude at email@example.com
Dell’Arte offers weekly ensemble theatre classes at Pelican Bay State Prison on all General Population yards throughout the year. Dell’Arte is now in it’s eighth year of engagement at the prison which is supported by the California’s Arts in Corrections Program. This program brings professional artists into prisons to teach their art form to incarcerated people in support of their rehabilitation and education. Through established performance exchanges with Dell’Arte’s students and teaching from invited guest instructors/Dell'Arte Faculty, our incarcerated participants have worked with artists from India, Mexico, Israel, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Canada, Guatemala, Spain, England, Brazil, and the United States.
Participants in the Arts in Corrections Theatre Classes at Pelican Bay work in ensemble to explore the creative act of generating theatre through the study of storytelling, character, improvisation, and original play development. Healing-centered facilitation guides work with participants focused on self-awareness through a creative lens, trauma-informed and body-based artistic exploration in writing and movement, performance and collaboration, and play.
Many participants have graduated from the program and continue classes as mentors, as courses commence every spring and fall. As programming develops, various ensembles have created original performances for invited public audiences. Several former students that have been released also serve on the Returned Citizens Committee, acting as advisors to the program.
Dell'Arte is grateful for the support of the California Arts Council, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Community Resource Manager's Office at Pelican Bay Stat Prison.
Photos by Peter Merts, Collin Smith, Malcolm DeSoto, and courtesy of CDCR