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  • Prison Performing Arts

Announcing John Wolbers as PPA's New Executive Director

A message from Steve Knight, President of the Board of Directors:

Prison Performing Arts is excited to announce that John Wolbers is joining PPA as Executive Director. John is coming to PPA with a background as a non-profit fundraiser, manager, and administrator, as well as a performer and teaching artist, with prior roles at Metro Theater Company, The Jewish Community Center and the St Louis Shakespeare Festival. John has been a long-time collaborator with PPA, working with our Alumni Theatre Company as well as supporting efforts to keep the arts alive in prisons locked down because of COVID. John will begin his role on Monday February 28, joining Artistic Director Rachel Tibbetts to continue and build PPA’s mission of supporting prisoners, returning citizens, and justice-involved youth to build second acts through engagement with the arts. Please join us in welcoming John Wolbers!

- Steve Knight

About John Wolbers

John Wolbers (he/him) steps into the role of Executive Director bringing over fifteen years of experience in the non-profit world. Most recently, he served as the Producing Associate for Metro Theater Company where he navigated many facets of company management: from development and production to COVID safety protocols and education. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Southwestern University in Texas, and is a respected director, administrator, educator, actor, and playwright. John is passionately dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and support in the St. Louis arts community.

A Message from John Wolbers, incoming Executive Director:

Having served in a freelance capacity with the company for years, I have first-hand knowledge of the incredible team of staff, freelancers, and Alumni PPA has cultivated.

So assuming this role feels very much like coming home.

Shortly after moving to St. Louis, I had the good fortune to see Patty Prewitt’s heart-wrenching performance as Lady Macbeth in 2005 at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center. It was a watershed moment for me. From that moment up to recently working with the Alumni Theatre Company in Elsinore, PPA has helped shape the course of my life.

Paired with the incredible vision of Rachel Tibbetts and building on the strong, foundational legacies of Agnes Wilcox, Christopher Limber, and Shannon Durio; I look forward to helping PPA sustainably grow. It’s truly a place where people can re-write their stories and create a better, more hopeful future for themselves.

I hope you’ll join me in re-writing our collective stories together by supporting the amazing work of PPA.

- John Wolbers

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