Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Keith Byron Kirk

Second Advisor

Karen Kopryanski

Third Advisor

Jesse Njus


This paper is the summation of my research and exploration into the history, social ramifications, and individual psychological impact of incarceration and the use of theatre as a vehicle of rehabilitation. Throughout my studies, I encountered evidence in the forms of personal accounts from theatre practitioners, scholarly articles, inmate testimonials, and historical journals regarding the success of such carceral theatre programs in the reformation of the prisoners they serve. How have past prison procedures and strategies hindered or helped inmates in their preparation for their transition from life in a penitentiary to reintroduction into larger society? What are the financial consequences of the United States prison epidemic? How do theatre practitioners establish trust and create a safe space for the inmates to fully engage in these carceral theatre programs? What is the qualitative statistical data regarding recidivism rates for participants in these theatre programs versus the general prison population? These were questions I answered via my research and incorporated into my theory that participation in prison theatre programs has substantial rehabilitative benefits for inmates both while still incarcerated and upon their release.


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Date of Submission