Help prisoners in Sing Sing stage a performance of The Wizard of Oz for their families.
Every spring, Rehabilitation Through The Arts (RTA) produces a major theatrical event up the river in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Now for the first time, the New York State Department of Corrections is allowing families of RTA prisoner-members to attend.
Prisoners chose the wonderful Wizard of Oz for this milestone event. We are thrilled that family members will be able to see the positive steps their loved ones are taking while enjoying a wonderful show! We can't wait to hear their giggles when children see their 6'4", 250 pound dads as Munchkins... and the Lollipop Guild's hip hop number will knock their socks off!
Over 96% of all prisoners are eventually released. Studies show that relationships between prisoner and family make a huge difference in the stability and success of their lives outside.
Your donations will help cover the costs of costumes, set materials, invitations, programs, videography and transportation as well as performance licensing fees, scripts and music.
Directed by the extraordinarily talented RTA facilitator Kim Breden, all roles are played by prisoners - except for Dorothy and Glinda the Good Witch, who are played by volunteer professional actresses.
The entire facility is over the rainbow - rehearsals are in full swing, roads being bricked and painted, dance steps practiced. Correction officers have been caught whistling "If I Only Had a Brain."
We hope you will realize this vision with us.
Rehabilitation Through The Arts (RTA) works in five New York State maximum and medium security prisons, teaching transformative life skills through theatre, dance, music, voice, writing and visual arts.
Risks and challenges
Staging a play inside a maximum security prison involves the same process as any production anywhere, but as Ginger Rogers famously said, it’s doing it backwards and in high heels.
Every costume, prop and set piece requires approval, security clearance and a small mountain of paperwork. Many costume colors are forbidden, and while green is allowed, prisoners are desperate to wear a color other than the “State greens” they wear every day. Costumes cannot be stored in the facility overnight and must be painstakingly checked in and out every day. Standard items used in staging productions are not standard here – did you say you wanted masking tape???
Class and work schedules, family visits and other prisoner commitments must be navigated. Factor in numerous daily prison counts. Prisoners can be transferred to other facilities at any point, or worse, locked-down for a disciplinary infraction.
But we’re not complaining! Working with men and women in prison is a privilege that we cherish. This will be RTA's 27th production in Sing Sing and and we are confident we can overcome these challenges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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