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Shakespeare Behind Bars

SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS, by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller, follows an all-male Shakespeare company working behind bars at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. For one year, a cast comprised of convicted felons rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, a play fittingly about forgiveness.

Marking their seventh year as an acting ensemble during the film, the inmates cast themselves. Just as in Shakespeare’s day, men play all the female roles. They swear that the roles “pick them,” and this proves to be an uncanny truth, as many of the men experience powerful epiphanies. Twice a week, the inmates work with volunteer director Curt Tofteland, nicknamed “Shakespeare Dude,” who pushes them to find their own truth within each part.

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Shakespeare Behind Bars

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