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Putting the Bard Behind Bars
At 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 22, at the NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, the GUILD hosted a SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE dialogue with two visionaries who have liberated actors and audiences alike by incarcerating the globe’s leading playwright.

Between 1988 and 1995 Jean Trounstine, an instructor at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts, directed eight plays, using female inmates as actors, at Framingham Prison. In 2001 she described her work in Shakespeare Behind Bars, an evocative narrative which has been featured on National Public Radio. Meanwhile, with no awareness of Ms. Trounstine's efforts, Curt Tofteland, Artistic Director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, founded a similar program in the mid-1990s at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, helping male convicts in that facility become more reflective, caring, and responsible human beings through their roles in dramas like The Tempest. Mr. Tofteland and Ms. Trounstine admire each other, and they reminded us that “Will Power” can produce marvels even in the most unpromising of circumstances.

In 2003 Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller's touching Philomath Films documentary about Mr. Tofteland's approach to Shakespeare Behind Bars premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; it went on to garner a number of awards and move PBS viewers to tears.

Admission to this event was $25 for members of either the SHAKESPEARE GUILD or the ENGLISH-SPEAKING UNION and $30 for non-members. If you visit our Membership page for types of affiliation with the GUILD, you'll find a link to a page that will enable you to enroll as a constituent, to book for programs like this, or to do both.