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Drama Therapy In Prisons 2019
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Drama Therapy in Prisons is a collection of interviews and ongoing research on the topic of performance and creative expression and their effects on notions of resilience, gender norms, race, and rehabilitation in carceral settings. Participants are therapists, educators, and students both currently in prisons and the formerly incarcerated.



Committed to the Cause



Suraya has facilitated mindfulness-based Expressive Arts and Drama Therapy practices with marginalized populations including at-risk youth, children with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, prison inmates, and others for more than 15 years. She has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, JFK University, and is an Adjunct Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. A master trainer in Expressive Arts and Drama Therapy, Suraya facilitates trainings on how to integrate cutting-edge arts practices into work with a variety of populations.



Armand Volkas is a psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Oakland, California, where he directs a training program for students, interns and therapists who want to integrate drama therapy into their practice. 



John Bergman MA, RDT, MT, BCT is a UK born drama therapist/theatre director with over 37 years’ experience with prisoners and prison officers, and men, women and young people in all types of criminal justice settings. He is the founder and Director of Geese Theatre Company USA, co-founder/teacher of Geese Company UK, and a Board member of Transcena in Romania, an arts-based company working in prisons and schools and with victims of domestic abuse.

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Ellen Williams is an associate professor at Rutgers University.



Linda Gregoric Cook is a past president of NADTA (1995-97). In her hour-long interview she details the educational background and professional training that led her to start one of the earliest drama therapy programs in prisons in the 1970s, a program that lasted over a decade and received a great deal of recognition and support.



Zeina Daccache, is a Lebanese actress, director and drama therapist (studies at St-Joseph University Beirut, Ecole Philippe Gaulier- London and KSU in USA). She works for TV as actress, and is drama therapist working in different social sectors and has directed the wining award film 12 Angry Lebanese.She is the founder and director of Catharsis-Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy, and she directed in 2009 12 Angry Lebanese- the play performed by the inmates in Roumieh Prison (Lebanon) and in 2012 the play Scheherazade in Baabda performed by the women inmates from Baabda Prison.



Kamran Afary is an Assistant Professor of Intersectional Identities and Relationships and a recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Lecturer Award at Cal State Los Angeles. Afary has incorporated Narradrama approaches in teaching courses in Communication studies; including: Interpersonal Communication and Health Communication at Lancaster Men’s Prison. He received his Registered Drama Therapy (RDT) certification in 2018 and teaches a training workshop for mental health professionals on Intersectionality at the Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles.  He is also an active member of the North American Drama Therapy Association. Afary is co-author of Iranian Diaspora Identities: Stories and Monologues (forthcoming 2020). He received his PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University in 2007. He is the author of Performance and Activism: Grassroots Discourse after the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992.



Marianne Shine graduated from CIIS-  the California Institute of Integral Studies, with a Masters in Counseling Psychology. Marianne is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and a Registered Drama Therapist and hold a certificate in Shakespeare from A.C.T. Marianne haS completed all three levels of EMDR training through the Parnell Institute and uses this frequently in her practice with great results around trauma based issues. Her clinical experience includes drama therapy at UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital, grief counseling at Hospice By The Bay and counseling at Elementary and Middle Schools. Marianne also directs Shakespeare plays with incarcerated men at San Quentin Prison through the Marin Shakespeare Company

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I was released from prison on April 10, 2020,  after serving 25 years. Today, I am even more committed to serving my community through my participation in Theatre Arts, Restorative Justice, and volunteer work with Paws for Life K9 Rescue. More than ever I enjoy spending time with family, connecting with friends, and giving back to my community.

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Juan Carlos Meza continues to do the work they began while incarcerated. They have performed pieces written by the men and women inside. They have written, directed, choreographed, and performed in an Artistic Ensemble when inside. They are also continuing the work in building allyship work A. C. T.  Acting with Compassion and  Truth which educates about the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community

Click HERE to view Juan's full interview

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ELIZABETH MALONE, MFA, is in the final stages of obtaining her RDT with DTILA. Elizabeth works with people impacted by incarceration, inside and outside of correctional facilities including directing and creating plays in men’s maximum-security prison, improvisational workshops for women in jail, and an after-school program for children impacted by incarceration. As an actor, director, teaching artist, and drama therapist based in Los Angeles, Elizabeth is passionate about bringing theater to unconventional spaces. Elizabeth received her BFA from NYU and MFA from Columbia University in Acting.

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Tue Huynh has been an actor since 2015 at the State of Lancaster. He has performed in both drama and comedy live shows on stage. He has used his acting skill to influence others in a positive way by telling the compelling great story through performance. According to him, acting is a medicine of the soul that helps him reconnect with his true emotion. After Tue left the State of Lancaster, he joined L.A. Reentry Health Advisory Collaborative. He is a member of Defy Ventures, a nonprofit organization that helps formerly incarcerated people to transform their lives and start their own business. He is also a member of API RISE, a support network that helps the community to understand the necessity of changes to an unfair justice system that involves immigration detentions and harsh environments.



RHODESSA JONES is Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, director, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women and HIV Circle, which is a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women and women living with HIV.



Lynn is a MFT Associate with a masters in counseling psychology and drama therapy at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) in San Francisco. She uses drama therapy and expressive arts techniques as tools to enhance the healing process.

For the last four years, she has been working with individual clients and facilitating groups with incarcerated men and women using drama therapy techniques to access emotions, conflict resolution, enhance self-esteem and trust. In these groups, she works with a social justice framework and uses their personal stories and/or Shakespeare to access universal themes and to facilitate personal growth.



After serving 22 years in prison—much of it as a juvenile LWOP—my focus is now on my family, music, writing, and making amends for my destructive decision.  I hope sharing my words and experiences with others can help them cope with their traumas in healthy ways.

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My name is Trung Tong. I am a formerly-incarcerated person whose currently working as a substance-use counselor with Options Recovery Services. I am an undergraduate student at San Francisco State University majoring in Psychology. During my incarceration, I was a member of Marin Shakespeare Company’s social justice program at Solano State Prison and San Quentin State Prison. Upon parole, I performed with Marin Shakespeare Company’s Returned Citizen Theatre Troupe.



Joey Pagaduan was sentenced to life in prison at 18 but was released on June 30, 2022, after being found suitable for parole twice. He is an accomplished actor, founding P@S to give theatre artists opportunities to perform original works. Joey is a Certified Addiction Counselor, currently enrolled in a coding bootcamp through CSU Eastbay, and has a Designing Creative Futures internship with California Lawyers for the Arts and Marin Shakespeare Company.

Click HERE to view Joey's full interview



Born into a family of fifteen boys in Barstow, California, Spoon Jackson was sentenced to Life Without Possibility of Parole when he was twenty years old. Spoon discovered himself as a writer at San Quentin; played Pozzo in the prison's 1988 production of Waiting for Godot; and has written, published, and received awards for plays, poetry, novels, fairy tales, short stories, essays, and a memoir during the more than forty years he has been behind bars. 

Learn More About Spoon Jackson:

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