Before opening its formal 2017 season, the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane collaborated for the first time with Cripple Creek Theatre Company to introduce Shakespeare to new audiences that traditionally have had little access to theater. Aiming to foster a discussion of modern-day issues through classic comedy, the partnership presented a production of The Taming of the Shrew to local community organizations and inmates in a state prison.
“The Shakespeare Festival is proud of our educational and outreach programs, and we’re always looking for new ways to take Shakespeare and theater out into the community,” said Chaney Tullos, director of operations at the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival.
The mission of the nonprofit Cripple Creek is community action, which fits well with the outreach operations of the Shakespeare Festival, said Tullos.
“We’re always looking for new ways to take Shakespeare and theater out into the community.”
— Chaney Tullos, director of operations at the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival
“We learn a lot about Shakespeare by seeing through the eyes of people who have been through a lot more than most of us. They connect with Shakespeare’s characters on a different level, and they often have insight that we don’t. We learn as artists,” said Tullos.
Last week, the companies performed at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana.
“Shakespeare in prisons has actually become pretty popular throughout the U.S. Studies show that when inmates are artistically engaged in some way that it drastically reduces the rate of recidivism,” said Tullos. “They appreciate it. One of the prisoners told our actors, ‘I just want you to know that for an hour and a half I was free,’ and he meant it.”
When The Taming of the Shrew opens on Friday, June 2, in Lupin Theater on the Tulane uptown campus, patrons can view a display in the lobby of photos and video from the outreach productions.
Tickets are available online.
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