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  • Prison Performing Arts


Several years ago, when I was Company Manager for the Shakespeare Festival St Louis, I thought that Forest Park during the festival season would be a wonderful place for PPA's Alumni company to perform. On June 4th and June 11th we had that opportunity, and I hope to help make it happen again and again for years to come.

The green show stage is an intimate setting that welcomes students and non-professionals, and gives them a platform (quite literally) to share themselves with the community, reciting Shakespeare's words. It is a free, inviting, culturally charged atmosphere that is casual, welcoming and accepting.

I sometimes wonder: what is the benefit of our Alumni performances? Is it an opportunity to spread the word about our organization’s mission? Is it a chance for our participants to "act" in front of an audience? Or is it an invitation to be a part of each other’s worlds and aspirations? On the surface we are disparate and alien from one another, some would say worlds apart, yet we all find ourselves searching for common ground that supports our humanity. Is it as simple as: I see you and you see me? Or does a soliloquy or sonnet gives us space to consider who is there between the lines, between what is spoken and unspoken? With each breath and intention we receive the power of the written word spoken. We witness the marriage of voices, filled with longing to understand and be understood. Karen Werner, PPA Board of Directors

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