1 in 35 adults in the United States is under the control of our corrections system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation, holding captive 20% of the world's prison population. Of these men and women a disproportionate number are black and brown. If paroled they struggle against a 77% recidivism rate in their first 5 years in a difficult landscape where parole violations are plentiful and jobs and basic necessities, let alone supportive spaces, are few. This is only one arm of the machine of incarceration and surveillance that recently released folks are navigating. Yet, we know sites of support and creativity are essential to an individual's ability to return to life on the outside; they are intrinsic elements of the human experience. We've heard it from our collaborators and we can see it appearing in research across the nation. This is the space of tenuous possibility that calls out to us in search of a structure for care, hope, commitment and joy. That's why we're creating (re)emergent theatre; a theatre community in support of those emerging from prison.
Our mission is to create a community of recently released individuals through collaborative theatre-making in search of reentry, rehabilitation, and renewal in New York City. We are not interested in giving voice or lending a hand. We are excited about the possibilities that can be found in holding creative space together, from all sides, with all kinds of ideas, within all sorts of frameworks. We value collaboration, accountability, lived experience and passionate art making.
As this project grows with support and funding, we will work to create a company that offers part-time employment to recently released folks as professional actors, designers, stage managers, writers and musicians for a cycle of shows. This employment would come in conjunction with resource sharing, networking, job inquiries, drama therapy opportunities, and educational support as folks work to navigate the wild landscape of life in New York City.