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  • Prison Performing Arts


Phew! Our Winter/Spring performance season is a WRAP. We’re taking a moment to catch our breath and reflect on all we have accomplished.

FromThe Tempest, Northeast Correctional Center (NECC), Bowling Green, MO, October 2018

Since September 2018, PPA produced a year-end Right2Express Winter Showcase at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, holiday programming at Hogan Street, the 15th Anniversary Hip Hop Poetry Project (also at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center), and five full prison shows—Hip Hop Hamlet, The Tempest, Quick-Brewed Macbeth, First Impressions, and Animal Farm. Simultaneously, we’re developing 3 new plays and hosting on-going youth programming.

“It’s a lot of production work in a year,” Chris Limber (Artistic Director) shares. “When you look at our year as a "Season," it really is very impressive. Add to that the development of "Kept Away" and performances of "The Beginning for Myself " by the Alumni Theatre Company and all the youth programming… one must really marvel at how much two people and one intern have accomplished in 11 months.”

From Animal Farm,Northeast Correctional Center (NECC), Bowling Green, MO, June 2019 / Photo Credit: John Lamb

If that wasn’t enough, our staff and PPA actors are receiving more recognition than ever for their work. Under Rachel Tibbetts’ (Director of Youth Programs) direction, SATE produced Run-On Sentence, the play PPA commissioned and first developed as part of our New Plays Initiative; SATE’s production was nominated by the St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for BEST NEW PLAY. We’ve been featured in Missouri Life—the publication released a fantastic article about The Tempest and the men of Northeast Correctional Center (NECC) in Bowling Green. 

And to top it all off, we gained full permission from Margaret Atwood to adapt her novel Hag-Seed—a modern retelling of The Tempest—into a play. The novelist, best known for her 1985 work The Handmaid’s Tale, took an interest in PPA during a visit to St. Louis.

Rachel Tibbetts shares, “It’s been an incredible season of creativity, collaboration, and celebration. This season exhibited the scope and breadth of the work of Prison Performing Arts. I’m thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with creative and giving artists, teaching artists, and colleagues. And also appreciative to the audiences who celebrate the achievements of all the artists.” 

FromHip Hop Poetry Project, St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, June 2019 / Photo Credit: Steve Tharp

There are several ways you can support our mission, from becoming a monthly supporter to offering a one-time donation of any size. Please consider making a gift, so we can continue this important work inside Missouri’s prisons and St. Louis area juvenile justice and correctional centers.

Without a doubt, this work would not be possible without the generous support of our Board of Directors, artistic colleagues, collaborators, and partners. THANK YOU for your continued support of our organization!

FromFirst Impressions,Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC), Vandalia, MO, May 2019 / Photo Credit: Nan Rochberg

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