Dell’Arte’s Janessa Johnsrude & Zuzka Sabata, in partnership with the William James Association, founded the first theatre program offered at Pelican Bay State Prison in 2016 through Arts in Corrections. In this emotional film, the men explain how the program has changed them.


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  • Cher

    I was able to see the humanity in these men and their loss. It touched me knowing that I have judged people that have committed crimes and get put into prison as less than human. I can see that their stories are important and giving them access to expression is beautiful.

  • pat

    i see janessa and zuzka and all the folks who participated in this video as open to transformation and loving, of self and others. definitely working on a higher plane. i, myself, needed to see this today.

  • Carolyn

    The bravery of these inmates to experience acting, probably unfamiliar to them prior to their incarceration. Their joy was beautiful.

  • joy

    loved this; i am a supporter of all prison programs for the betterment of its inmates. Here is the possibility of rehabilitation, to give oneself back to oneself in a new way; who am i aside from this criminal act in my life? what is my potential as a full human being outside these walls.

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  • Find out more about the programs at Dell’Arte.
  • Arts in Corrections is a partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Arts Council Learn more about their program here
  • The arts are a powerful tool for positive change. How have the arts changed you? 

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