- November 15-16, 2013
Founder/Producing Director Curt L. Tofteland will present a keynote address, film screening, discussions, and workshops at the first Shakespeare in Prisons Conference for prison arts practitioners. The conference aims to bring together artists and educators engaged in transformational arts programs using Shakespeare in prisons across the USA (and the world) for an exploration and study of the effects such programming has on prison populations. The goal is to promote a collaborative learning forum where participants will be exposed to a diverse array of programs that all strive for a common result: the habilitation of the inmate’s mind, heart, body, and spirit.
- November 25, 2013
Artistic Director Matt Wallace will present an interactive workshop for educators at the 48th Annual Council for Exceptional Children Conference at the Galt House in Louisville. Registration info at: http://kycec.org/
- March 2014
SBB Co-Facilitator Keith McGill begins the spring SBB Multidisciplinary Juvenile Arts Program at Audubon Youth Development Center, Department of Juvenile Justice.
- April 11, 2014
COCKTAILS AND KARAOKE annual Shakespeare Behind Bars benefit from 9PM-1AM at Amici Cafe in Old Louisville.
- April 30, 2014
Final sharing of the spring SBB Multidisciplinary Juvenile Arts Program at Audubon Youth Development Center, Department of Juvenile Justice.
- May 2014
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING PUBLIC PERFORMANCES 6:00PM at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, LaGrange, KY.
- August 26, 2013 - SBB Facilitator Keith McGill begans SBB’s first program exclusively for juvenile females – the new Shakespeare Beyond Bars program at Maryhurst School.
- September 7, 2013 - Shakespeare Behind Bars began its 19th season at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex exploring MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (to be presented in May 2014.)
- October 11, 2013 - SBB Co-Facilitators Keith McGill and Kathi E.B. Ellis began the fall juvenile arts program at Audubon Youth Development Center, Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice.
- June 17-20, 2013 - RICHARD III PUBLIC PERFORMANCES at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, LaGrange, KY
- April 22, 2013 - Matt was the guest speaker at the Annual Faculty Development Lecture at Xavier University, New Orleans, presenting a lecture and discussion on helping reluctant readers make personal connections with text. He also lead a workshop on SBB with an undergraduate class on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday. http://read.xula.edu/
- April 19, 2013 - COCKTAILS AND KARAOKE benefit for Shakespeare Behind Bars. 9PM-1AM at Amici Cafe in Old Louisville
- April 4, 2013 - The new Shakespeare BEYOND Bars program at Uspiritus – Brooklawn Campus began.
- March 4, 2013 - The Spring SBB Multidisciplinary Juvenile Arts Program at Audubon Youth Development Center began. The process culminated in a final sharing on April 30.
- SBB featured in the March issue of Louisville’s THE PAPER.
- February 4, 2013 - The new Shakespeare BEYOND Bars program at Home of the Innocents began
- January 11, 2013 – The Journeymen, SBB’s new program for 18-21 year old inmates, begins at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty, KY facilitated by SBB Artistic Director Matt Wallace.
- December 2, 2012 – The Journeymen, SBB’s new program for 18-21 year old inmates, begins at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, KY facilitated by SBB Artistic Director Matt Wallace.
- Self-casting is completed for the 2012-13 production of Richard III. Visit our R3 page to see the current cast list.
- September 27, 2012 - The PEETA Project: Personal Effectiveness and Employability Through the Arts
Curt L. Tofteland, Founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, will delivered a keynote address during the international PEETA Project: Delivering Skills Through the Arts conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.Policymakers, artists and scientist worked together during two years of European exchanges, intensive workshops, and research in six countries. This has resulted in new ways of learning and new possibilities for art education in prisons and elsewhere, as well as in a new certificate that will help inmates find their way back into society.The conference will present outstanding Dutch and European policy makers, artists, and employers to shine their light on the arts contribution to desistence, employability and the potential for learning through the arts. During a three days of meetings, conferees will present the excellent results and explain what learning through the arts means to people in the margins of society. Experts will lay out the benefits for employers, the judicial system, policy makers, and art-educational institutes. Additionally, inspiring speakers from around the world will be presenting their unique arts programs in correctional institutions. www.peetaproject.eu
- September 22, 2012 - Idea Festival 2012, Louisville, KY
Shakespeare Behind Bars Founder, Curt L. Tofteland; Commissioner of Kentucky Department of Corrections, LaDonna Thompson; Chairman of Kentucky Parole Board, Larry Chandler; Retired Warden of Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, Steve Berry; and Shakespeare Behind Bars alumni, Richard Hughes and Larry Lucas spoke for a panel discussion on the power of Shakespeare Behind Bars to transform the human spirit.
Shakespeare Behind Bars: Its Emotion, Talent & Creation, by Renee Blodgett
- August 24-26, 2012 – Curt participated in the Shakespearience Symposium at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Philomath Films award-winning documentary was shown and Curt facilitated a post-screening audience talkback.Read more: http://host.madison.com/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/local-companies-take-fresh-approaches-to-crowd-pleasing-shakespeare/article_32f00eee-e198-11e1-9e3a-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz23AXryBLI
- June 15, 2012 – Matt conducted an SBB workshop with students participating in the 2012 Shakespeare Intensive at Walden Theatre.
- June 12 & 14, 2012 – Curt was in Lausanne, Switzerland working with 10th and 11th grade students at the International School of Lausanne . The students explored the use of Shakespeare in prisons and the play The Tempest .
- Curt was a guest at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan April 25, 2012. Curt visited the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home where he worked with students studying Othello ; visit K College’s campus to meet with Professor Amy L. Smith’s Sophomore Seminar English Class (Global and Local Shakespeares); screened Philomath Films award-winning Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary; and facilitated a post-screening discussion with the audience.
- Our Second Annual Cocktails & Karaoke Fundraiser was held April 20, 2012 at Amici Cafe in Old Louisville. For pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page .
- On March 11, 2012, Philomath films award-winning documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars was screened at 6:00PM in the Upper Room Theatre at Zion Lutheran Church in Holland, MI. Following the screening, there was an audience talk-back with Curt L. Tofteland, Founder and Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars and an SBB/Kentucky alumni.
- On March 8, 2012, Curt gave his second TED Talk at TEDx Macatawa . . . The Quality of Mercy
- March 8, 2012
TEDx Macatawa Speakers Announced
Shakespeare Behind Bars Founder Curt L. Tofteland will be one of sixteen speakers at the TEDx Macatawa event. The theme of the salon is “Do more good.” The title to Curt’s speech is “The Quality of Mercy.”
- On February 24, 2012, students participating in the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at Louisville Day Treatment Center shared some of their work including monologues and text from THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at the end of trimester graduation ceremony.
- February 13 – 15, 2012, Curt conducted a Shakespeare Behind Bars mini-residency at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI. In addition to a screening of Philomath Films award-winning documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars , followed by an audience talk-back; Curt taught a three hour master class to theatre students and visit two classrooms over his three day stay.
- February 12, 2012 SBB/Michigan entered its second year! Shakespeare Behind Bars celebrates the one-year anniversary of Shakespeare Behind Bars | Michigan , founded by Curt L. Tofteland.
- On February 8, 2012, Philomath films award-winning documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars was screened at 6:30PM at the Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, MI as part of their week-long celebration Live Out Love Events . Following the documentary viewing, there was a panel discussion with Curt L. Tofteland, Founder and Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, Warden Mary Berghuis, Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, and Brian Vork, Executive Director 70×7 Life Recovery.
- On February 6, 2012 the Shakespeare Behind Bars began another residency at Audubon Youth Development Center . The 60+ hour multidisciplinary arts programs is facilitated by Artistic Director Matt Wallace, assisted by several visiting guest specialists. The spring program will culminate in a “sharing” on May 1, 2012.
- Shakespeare in Prison: Dart Society Reports
text and audio by Mary Wiltenburg
photos and slideshow production by Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor
- On January 12, 2012, Artistic Director Matt Wallace began a new Shakespeare Behind Bars program at the Louisville Day Treatment Center .
- Self-casting is completed for the 2011-2012 production of ROMEO AND JULIET. Visit our RJ page to see the current cast list.
- In October 2011, Curt Tofteland hosted a screening and discussion on Shakespeare Behind Bars with Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble in Australia.
Documentary to Screen at St Lucia
- August-December, 2011: Curt L. Tofteland, Founder & Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, is the recipient of a 2011-12 Fulbright Fellowship to Australia. Curt will be in residence in Brisbane, Queensland where he will screen Philomath Films award-winning documentary – Shakespeare Behind Bars – about his work with the incarcerated for students & faculty at the University of Queensland. Following the screening, Curt will facilitate an audience talk-back. Additionally, Curt will teach a series of master classes for University of Queensland students who are interested in delving more deeply into using the power of art, theatre, and the works of William Shakespeare to transform cognitive behavior in incarcerated populations. Finally, Curt will visit individual University of Queensland classrooms to discuss his work in building restorative circles of reconciliation with the incarcerated.Curt will co-direct a professional production of William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice for the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.Curt will co-facilitate a series of workshops – using his transformational cognitive behavioral techniques – in collaboration with colleagues from the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble – using the techniques of Augusto Boal and his Theatre of the Oppressed – for a group selected inmates incarcerated at the Borallon Correctional Centre. The workshops will culminate in a shared performance by inmate participants with an invited audience.The Shakespeare Survey has commissioned an article for publication -per peer review - regarding Curt’s Fulbright Scholar experiences.
- The 17th season of Shakespeare Behind Bars at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex has begun. Artistic Director and Facilitator Matt Wallace will guide the participants through the 9 1/2 month process culminating in performances of ROMEO AND JULIET in June 2012.
- Writer, Community Activist, Blogger, and Speaker - Melanie G. Snyder writes about her experience attending the Shakespeare Behind Bars/Kentucky production of The Merchant of Venice .
- Shakespeare Behind Bars is featured on the front page of the Courier-Journal! The article is the culmination of 7 months of visits this season to the SBB circle/MERCHANT rehearsals by reporter Sean Rose and photographer/videographer Matt Stone.
- Matt Wallace interview about Shakespeare Behind Bars on WFPL Louisville’s Here and Now with Graham Shelby.
- T hink Hope , an annual dinner and silent auction fundraising event sponsored by Hope Church in Holland, Michigan, donated all the proceeds to support the Shakespeare Behind Bars/Michigan program at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan.
- NEW YORK, N.Y. — Theaterlab, in association with AMZ Creative LLC, will present “ Northpoint: Voices from a Prison ,” a one-night-only benefit reading of short plays written by inmates at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison in Burgin. The playwrighting project is a collaboration between Curt L. Tofteland, Founder & Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, Robbie Henson, Producer of Pioneer Playhouse, and Elizabeth Orndorff, a professional playwright.“Northpoint: Voices from a Kentucky Prison” will took place Monday May 23, 2011 at 7 p.m. Monday at Baruch Performing Arts Center (25th between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue). The benefit includes the reading, live music by singer-songwriter Doug Wamble, and a post-show reception.
A $15,000 grant will support a playwriting workshop begun last summer at Northpoint Correctional Facility.
May 24th, Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced the Pioneer School of Drama (d.b.a. Pioneer Playhouse) in collaboration with Shakespeare Behind Bars Founder Curt L. Tofteland and professional playwright Elizabeth Orndorff was recommended for a grant of $15,000 to support the Northpoint “Voices of a Kentucky Prison” play writing project. It is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state and local organizations recommended for a grant, as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the arts endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.
- Shakespeare Behind Bars conducted a 50-hour Juvenile SBB program this spring at Audubon Youth Development Center in the Department of Juvenile Justice. For more information, please visit our AYDC page. This work was funded in part by the Norton Foundation.
- On April 4, 2011, Matt screened the Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary and facilitated an audience talkback at Holy Spirit Church in Bowling Green, KY.
- On March 31st, Curt screened the Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary and facilitated an audience talkback with professors and students at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.
- On April 1st, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Maryland’s premiere professional classics theatre, hosted a special event in support of Shakespeare Behind Bars. Founder and Producing Director Curt L. Tofteland spoke, shared excerpts from Philomath Films award-winning Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary, and answered questions for CSC patrons and supporters attending the event.
- On March 23rd, Curt screened the Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary and facilitated an audience talkback with professors and students at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. This was Curt’s second visit to the University of the Pacific campus. Read more at recordnet.com .
- Curt was a guest on Insight with host Jeffery Callison on Capital Public Radio serving Sacramento, Tahoe/Reno, Stockton, Quincy, Groveland/Sonora, and Sutter/Yuba City on March 22nd. Curt was interviewed about the creation of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program which now serves Kentucky and Michigan. Curt will be screening Philomath Films award winning documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars and facilitating an audience talk-back at the conclusion of the film on the campus of the University of the Pacific on March 23. You can listen to the interview here .
- Curt was interviewed by reporter Tony Sauro of the Stockton (CA) Record newspaper on March 17th for an article about the creation of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program which now serves Kentucky and Michigan. Curt will be screening Philomath Films award winning documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars and facilitating an audience talk-back at the conclusion of the film on the campus of the University of the Pacific on March 23.
- Matt spoke about Shakespeare Behind Bars at the Bellarmine University Veritas Society for Continuing and Professional Studies on March 15th.
- The award winning Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary screened at the Park Theater at 7:00pm on Thursday, March 10, 2011. Following the screening, there was a facilitated audience talkback with a panel that consists of: Curt L. Tofteland (founder & producing director of Shakespeare Behind Bars), Michelle Bombe (costume designer for Shakespeare Behind Bars productions), Mary Berghuis (Warden of Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility), Brian Vork (executive director 70×7 Life Recovery), Larry DeClue (an SBB alumni on parole now living and working in Michigan).
- Hal Cob has been invited to participate in the Anne Frank Center USA Prison Diary Project with the goal of educating people on both sides of the wall. The Pen American Center shared Hal’s contact information with AFC because of past creative writing awards. A packet of material including a book, a blank journal, and a pamphlet on how to write a journal will be made available, as well as an envelope to return the completed journal within three months. AFC has asked for permission to publish excerpts from the journal for educational purposes, online, radio, and an exhibit and in printed form. The journal will be archived at the AFC.
- SBB artistic director Matt Wallace is one of ten up-and-coming Louisville leaders the Courier Journal identified as people to watch in the years ahead.
- On February 15, 2011 Curt began the new Shakespeare Behind Bars program at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan. Twelve inmates joined Curt as the founding fathers of the first SBB circle in the state of Michigan.
- Curt was in Los Angeles, CA February 7-13 to participate in the week-long, annual conference of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VIII . On February 8 at the Los Angeles City College, Curt screened the Shakespeare Behind Bars documentary and facilitated and audience talkback with students and faculty attending from Arizona, Central & Southern California, Hawaii, Southern Nevada, & Utah. The remainder of his time was spent as a judge for the two-day Preliminary Irene Ryan Auditions and as a play respondent to a production selected from region VIII to perform at the festival.
- Different Kind of Shepherd – Spotlight Interview on Shakespeare Behind Bars’ Matt Wallace , by David N. Harding, The Observer, January 2011 (pdf)
- Matt visited the Humanities class at Oldham County High School on February 2, 2011 to participate in a discussion on Shakepeare Behind Bars. The class was exploring artworks that commented on some social and/or political issues. The first artwork they studied was the documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars .
- Conservatory alumnus prepares incarcerated for life after prison , written by Andrea Sisney in Webster University’s The Journal .
- Curt attended the 2011 Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) annual conference January 3-9 hosted by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder, Colorado. At the pre-conference, Curt screened Philomath Films award winning documentary – Shakespeare Behind Bars, facilitating an audience talkback, and co-presenting (with Kevin Coleman, Education Director for Shakespeare & Company) a round table discussion on Prison Arts Practioners/At-Risk Constituencies. At the conference, Curt was a panelist with Becky Kemper & Rebecca Ennals – San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Michelle Traverso – Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Kevin Coleman – Shakespare & Company. The panel addressed the philosophical question about serving at-risk populations while offering practical insights on best practices in such programming. Curt is a founding member and a past president of STA.
- Shakespeare Behind Bars has recently been awarded with a grant from the Norton Foundation to support work at Audubon Youth Development Center in the Department of Juvenile Justice! During the spring of 2011 AYDC residents will participate in an extended Shakespeare Behind Bars Juvenile Program. For more information, please visit our AYDC page. To support this work and make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our donations page .
- Matt volunteered time in December at the Audubon Youth Development Center in the Department of Juvenile Justice working with boys on conflict resolution and Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
- Curt went to New Orleans December 10-13 to facilitate a healing circle for exonerees from the Resurrection after Exoneration program. Additionally, he taught theatre workshops for exonerees involved in the Voices of Innocence performance project.
- Shakespeare Behind Bars was the subject of an essay from change.org, A Chance for Prisoners to Act Like Human Beings
- Curt spoke about Shakespeare Behind Bars: transformation, redemeption, & forgiveness in his speech This Thing of Darkness, I Acknowledge Mine at the TEDx East NYC event on November 11, 2010 in NYC. View the speech here .For information on booking Curt to speak at your event, conference or in the clasroom, contact him directly at email@example.com.
- Curt was interviewed about Shakespeare Behind Bars on One to One with Bill Goodman on KET, October 24, 2010. Watch it here online.
- Curt was a guest with 3 other authors on Greg Berg’s Morning Show (WGTD-FM/Public Radio, Wisconsin) on Thursday, October 21. The topic is the book Performing New Lives . Listen to the interview here .
- Huntington University students visited Shakespeare Behind Bars’ Merchant of Venice rehearsal Wednesday, October 20th. View the photo gallery .
- The 2010-2011 season at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex is currently under way. Self-casting has been completed ! Stay tuned for May 2011 The Merchant of Venice performance dates.
- Curt recently won the University of Wyoming’s national 2010 Amy & Eric Burger Essays on Theatre Competition for his essay, “Shakespeare Goes to Prison Holding the Transformative Mirror up to Nature: Responsibility, Forgiveness & Redemption.”
- Matt was recently awarded the Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Kentucky Criminal Justice System .
- Curt is featured in the new book release by Jonathon Shailor, Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre - and also available at Amazon.com .
- SBB Member Hal Cobb gets the PEN Award !