PMA 4680 Prison Theatre Course

Overview of the course

Course Description: This multi-faceted course explores the cultural aspects of imprisonment through a focus on theatre produced by prisoners. The course responds to the circumstances of mass incarceration through the lens of those who work with the incarcerated to create performance pieces and stage plays in correctional facilities. A central question for the course is: does making theatre in prison seem to assist in the transformation of those who participate in theatre making while incarcerated? Students will engage with individuals and groups collaborating with those incarcerated and read texts, articles and Internet source material to gain insights into the scope and depth of theatre programs in prisons.

Time Commitment: There are once-weekly discussion sessions to review readings/workshops. Students also attend weekly lab sessions with the Phoenix Players Theatre Group at Auburn Correctional facility. Because of travel time to and from Auburn, the lab hours are extensive.

Arts and Sciences distribution requirements: ALC and SCD

Image of class

Our group picture of students from the course! Source: 2017 Phoenix Players Theatre Group Class

Student Testimonials

"Bruce is very passionate and knowledgeable about this subject. He is always very thoughtful and engaging."

"The Skype interviews and readings were very helpful as was the relaxed nature of our Monday morning meetings."

"Bruce has been working in Prison Theatre for years and has completely invested himself in the work. Throughout the semester he shared a lot of his knowledge with us."

"I have loved this class. This has been on of the most meaningful and Impactful classes I’ve taken at Cornell"

Guest Speakers

Other Related Seminars

Please contact Professor Levitt for more information on the following courses.