create / 2015

Art of Acting Studio 1 Week Theatre Intensives for Incarcerated Citizens

Art of Acting Studio 1 Week Theatre Intensives for Incarcerated Citizens

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Art of Acting Studio

AOA is using theatre to transform lives of some of LA’s most challenged citizens. Through AOA’s Outreach Division we are serving incarcerated women in partnership with Five Keys Charter School and Twin Towers Correctional Facility and men in the Pitchess Juvenile Detention Center. Our incarcerated students receive training in Voice and Speech, Movement and Acting Technique and then develop a body of original theatre to be performed for their peers and their teachers.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Pitchess Detention Center(Castaic)

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Mobilize for systems change

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics?

  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)
  • Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.

Art of Acting Studio (AOA) is taking down the barriers that prevent all of LA’s citizens from participating in the city’s robust arts community. AOA will deliver 12 one-week Theatre Project residencies for adult female students currently residing in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and for male High School Students in the Pitchess Detention Center. These programs will be delivered by professional instructor and a team of Ambassadors, current students and alumni from the Art of Acting Studio.

How does this work on a day to day basis? Each class begins with a progression of physical exercises to stretch and tone the body; voice and speech exercises designed to open their voice, expand the breath and develop strength and clarity in speaking; learning and practicing acting technique through scene work and storytelling. In the class, students will find an opportunity to share their training experience and discoveries in an “open class” setting with invited guests.

Through this work, the studio fulfills its mission of bringing world class faculty and training to those who cannot afford it, while also providing our full time tuition based students with a model for social engagement. This partnership also presents a unique opportunity to serve the mission of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Five Keys Charter Schools by encouraging these students to embrace new language and bold ideas. AOA aims to empower participants through the rigorous study of craft. The final “open class” environment provides a ritual for success for students as as well as a moment to reflect, to acknowledge and dream for all participants and stakeholders, as the students receive validation from the peers and the professionals they look to each and every day.

When students are released from the facility, they are invited to participate in a free, monthly, theatre re-entry program at their new artistic home - THE ART OF ACTING STUDIO. AOA will continue to nurture the growth of students both in their art and human growth as they re-enter society.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Based on previous program delivery, the studio recommends evaluation based on 1) attendance 2) participation (in theatre class, for example, did the student write and/or perform during the course of the session) and 3) participation in re-entry program. Student feedback in narrative form is an essential aspect of program evaluation as is feedback from each facility’s staff including corrections officers, wardens and program staff.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research