Home > About > News and Events > News Releases > News Releases 2008 > Documentary Film and Discussion to Explain Prison Theater Program
News Release

Documentary Film and Discussion to Explain Prison Theater Program

Shakespeare Behind Bars, followed by discussion with theater director Curt Tofteland

Bethlehem, Pa., September 10, 2008—Moravian College will hold a screening of Shakespeare Behind Bars, a documentary film about a visionary volunteer theater director’s work with prison inmates on Wednesday, October 8 at 7 p.m. in Prosser Auditorium. Immediately following, there will be a discussion in the Snyder Room at 8:30 p.m. with Curt Tofteland, the director of the prison theater program documented in the film.

“The film provides an interdisciplinary approach to thinking about prisons in the United States. It conveys the great power of works of drama beyond the classroom, makes marginal voices audible, sheds light on misogyny by investigating the psychosocial context of violent crime, investigates traditional norms of masculinity, and underlines the importance of supporting a rich culture of discussion,” noted Khristina Haddad, assistant professor of political science at Moravian College. “When I first saw this film at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America several years ago, I was struck by the many connections between Tofteland’s work and the complex interdisciplinary and normative challenges we face in our work as educators in the liberal arts.”

Shakespeare Behind Bars was written and directed by Hank Rogerson and produced by Jilann Spitzmiller.  The duo are a husband and wife team that has collaborated on projects for 15 years, including the award-winning documentary “Homeland” and “Circle of Stories” which was part of the Sundance Online Film Festival in 2003.

The film depicts the year-long journey with the Shakespeare Behind Bars theatre troupe led by Shakespearean volunteer director Curt Tofteland.  The prisoners cast themselves in roles reflecting their personal history and fate. Their individual stories, including information about their heinous crimes, are interwoven with the plot of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as the inmates delve deeply into the characters they portray while confronting their personal demons. For more information about the film visit www.shakespearebehindbars.com.

The program is sponsored by Arts and Lectures at Moravian College. Prosser Auditorium and the Snyder Room are located in the Haupert Union Building on Moravian’s Main Street Campus, near the corner of  Monocacy and Locust streets in Bethlehem. Pa. For More information, call 610-861-1491.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.