about acting up
In 2017 Nevada County Arts Council rolled out a pilot series of workshops called Acting Up at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, our County Jail. Over the course of three months, we commissioned experienced actor, director and playwright, John Deaderick, to teach theatre and acting to close to twenty inmates, varying in age from early twenties to early seventies, and serving time for a variety of offenses. The series was the result of an unusual partnership with California Lawyers for the Arts.
“The goal of this multi-year study is to measure the behavioral and attitudinal changes experienced by residents in county jails throughout California and the impact on their lives through self-reported surveys administered at the end of sequential art classes.”
Alma Robinson, Executive Director, California Lawyers for the Arts
Now we are back, serving inmates at our County Jail, this time working with both men and women!
what participants say
When asked about the changes inmate participants now planned to make in their lives, here was some feedback jail staff and Nevada County Arts Council received:
“My interactions have become deeper. I feel I understand each person more… I feel happier, and have become more outgoing and cheerful...”
“The space helped me to explore myself better. I feel I’m more relaxed and friendly and therefore able to make better decisions…”
how did acting up begin?
Acting Up follows a report produced in late 2016 by California Lawyers for the Arts, in collaboration with Dr. Larry Brewster of the University of San Francisco, the William James Association, Fresno Arts Council, Community Works West and Jail Guitar Doors. The report, Arts in Corrections: County Jails Project, was released “just as the US Supreme Court was requiring the state to reduce severe overcrowding in the state’s prisons. In addition to having the nation’s largest state prison population, California also claimed one of the highest recidivism rates in the country at nearly 70%.” You can view the full, most recent, report above.
why arts in corrections?
Broad, evidence-based research shows inmates engaged in arts programs are less likely to be involved in disciplinary incidents and to re-offend after release. Jeff Pettit, Nevada County Sheriff Captain, and Robert Bringolf, Executive Lieutenant in Corrections at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility speak highly of the program.
In 2018 we also started working with disadvantaged youth caught up in the juvenile justice system at Charis Youth Center, as well as offering female inmates at our County Jail the opportunity to participate in Acting Up. With fantastic staff at each of these institutions, we are enjoying these new partnerships. Watch this space!