GODFREY – The Prison Performing Arts (PPA) will premier an original piece by its Alumni Theatre Company at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel.
PPA is a 22-year-old, multi-discipline, literacy and performing arts program that serves incarcerated adults and children in the St. Louis area. The PPA alumni troupe performed for the first time on campus last February.
“We are excited to bring them back for the second year,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Jen Cline. “We will be the first public performance for the new piece, which is titled ‘The Beginning of Myself.’ Inmates who participate in the PPA program have one-third the recidivism rate of the rest of those released from prison.”
The new work focuses on the human experiences of the PPA’s company members and their connections to family.
“This performance is a connection of real-world experiences and the academic humanities that is an important connection for students,” Cline said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for students in sociology, psychology, criminal justice, English and a variety of other fields.”
PPA’s Alumni Theatre Company is the only prison alumni theatre company in the United States. It is currently comprised of former inmates now living in the St. Louis area, who worked with the PPA while incarcerated.
The performance is sponsored by the L&C Diversity Council, presented by the Mannie Jackson Endowment and Center for the Humanities and is a Lewis and Clark Arts and Humanities Project, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Everyone is encouraged to attend and it is free and open to the general public,” Cline said. “The event will last about an hour, with a half hour performance and a half hour Q&A.”