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The international "Shakespeare in Prisons" conference, held in November 2013 in Indiana.

Notre Dame’s Shakespeare in Prisons Conference Goes Virtual

The 4th International Shakespeare in Prisons Conference begins next week online, and will continue through next spring.

NOTRE DAME, IND.: Shakespeare at Notre Dame and the Shakespeare in Prisons Network, in partnership with the Folger Institute, have announced the 4th International Shakespeare in Prisons Conference (SiPC4). The virtual convening will begin on Nov. 9, with sessions continuing through April of 2021.

“We find ourselves in a critical moment that is demanding us to take stock of and reflect upon our practice, particularly as it pertains to Shakespeare, and the cultural monuments we continue to uphold without understanding the holistic impact on us and our program participants,” said Karen Ann Daniels, director of the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit and SiPC4 co-producer, in a statement. “I’m excited to take this time to come together as a community and do the hard work, so when things open back up again, we can step in and be as transformed as the work we love and are committed to manifesting in the world.”

This year’s event will bring together an international cohort of arts practitioners, returning citizens, researchers, scholars, corrections officials, and social justice advocates. SiPC4 will feature both asynchronous and synchronous performances, roundtables, curated dialogues, workshops, and social events that will explore the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on prison theatre arts programming and the racial justice movement. SiPC4 will center on the theme “Why Shakespeare Now?” and will highlight best practices, current research and publications, anti-racist/decolonizing pedagogies, social justice activism, and the voices of returned citizens.

Contributors will include Nia Wilson of SpiritHouse Inc in North Carolina; Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score; performer and activist Liza Jessie Peterson; DE-CRUIT (Shakespeare for Veterans) founders Stephan Wolfert and Dawn Stern; Ashley Lucas, author of the Prison Theatre and the Global Crisis of Incarceration; and Sylvan Baker, from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Registration is currently open and will be capped at 200 attendees. All SiPC4 sessions will be recorded and offered to the public at no charge.

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