Curt Tofteland Visit

Curt Tofteland, Shakespeare Behind Bars

Curt Tofteland, Shakespeare Behind Bars

Curt Tofteland, a prison arts practitioner and founder of the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB) program will be in Eugene and Portland this January 2016 delivering two lectures and showing his documentary film, Shakespeare Behind Bars.

Open Hearts Open Minds will be hosting a showing of the documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars. Curt Tofteland will be present to talk and answer questions. A lively dialogue will ensue!

Shakespeare Behind Bars

THE FILM: when/where
Monday, January 18, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
First Unitarian Church of Portland
1011 SW 12th, Portland
This will be a benefit for Shakespeare Behind Bars. Suggested donation: $8. No one turned away.

> view trailer
> download flyer

There will also be a showing of the film in Eugene on Sunday, January 10th at 3:00 PM on the UO Campus, 156 Straub Hall.

Oregon Humanities Center Lectures

As part of the Oregon Humanities Center Tzedek Lecture series on justice, Tofteland will give two public talks at the UO campuses in Eugene and in Portland.

PORTLAND: The Villainy You Teach Me: Mercy Seasoned with Justice or Mercy Seasoned with Revenge?
UO in Portland (70 NW Couch St.)
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Tofteland’s lecture “The Villainy You Teach Me: Mercy Seasoned with Justice or Mercy Seasoned with Revenge?” will examine justice through the lens of Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. In one of Shakespeare’s most famous passages (in the courtroom scene in Act 4.I), Portia tells Shylock that seeking legal justice will not lead to salvation. She reminds Shylock (and all present) that through our own prayers for mercy we are taught to render the deeds of mercy to others. But how easy is it to do that, especially for someone like Shylock who has been deeply wronged by the oppressor he is asked to forgive? Tofteland asks each of us to ponder, “Is there a pound of flesh you are seeking? If so, will you season justice with mercy or with revenge?”

Curt Tofteland has worked in professional theatre as an actor, director, producer, and playwright for more than 35 years, and for the past 20 years has taken his passion for Shakespeare and his belief in the redemptive power of art into prison settings. From 1989 to 2008 he served as producing artistic director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, producing, directing, or acting in over 50 plays. From 1995 to 2008 he facilitated SBB at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, where he produced and directed 14 Shakespeare plays. He currently facilitates several SBB programs in Kentucky and Michigan. In addition, Tofteland is a program developer, teacher, artist-in-residence, workshop facilitator, and national and international speaker, as well as a published essayist and poet. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including two Fulbrights and an award from the Petra Foundation. Tofteland is currently working on his first book, Behind the Bard-Wire: Reflection, Responsibility, Redemption, and Forgiveness…The Transformative Power of Art, Theatre, and Shakespeare.

EUGENE: We Know Who We Are But Not Who We May Be
156 Straub Hall on the UO campus
Tuesday, January 19th at 7:30 p.m.

In his Eugene talk, Tofteland will describe his work with prisoners in “circles of trust,” in which participants explore what it means to be human using art, theatre, and the collected works of William Shakespeare. Together the inmates explore four questions: Who am I? What do I love? How will I live my life knowing I will die? What is my gift to humankind? Through these questions, participants seek to understand how their early life experiences have shaped their views of the world; who they were when they committed their crimes; who they are in the present; and who they wish to become. This process of habilitation leads to transformational change that allows participants the possibility of not being remembered for the very worst thing that they did.

The Value of Theater in Prison