Theater at Two Rivers Correctional Institution

Theatre at Two Rivers 2017 Performance

The Tempest, performed by Theatre at Two Rivers

In spring of 2017 the Two Rivers Theatre Program returned to its roots and produced William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

This performance was Co-Directed by Anna Crandall, Victoria Spencer, and Patrick Walsh.

Check out our photo gallery for images of the June 3, 2017 performance. Photos were shot by Anke Schuettler, PSU Art and Social Practice MFA student.

Metamorphoses: Fall 2016


For our 2016 production, we took a break from Shakespeare and produced Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Adapted from Ovid’s poem of the same name, this show takes the classic myths of Ancient Greece and puts them into a contemporary context. Its a beautiful show about transformation, human foibles, and above all, love. More info can be found here: The play was co-directed by Anna Crandal, Victoria Spenser and Patrick Walsh.

> Read our interview with Co-Director Anna Crandall who talks about the process of making the play.

Hamlet at Two Rivers: 2015 Performance

This September 2015 our participants performed “The Hamlet Project”, a show of Shakespeare and a little bit more. We had an amazing group of volunteers that rotated through visits to facilitate rehearsals and creative enterprises with our class members. Check out our gallery with images from the show!

We are also happy to announce that this April 2015 we initiated our first college credit class titled “Hamlet, Inside Out”. Karin Magaldi and Richard Wattenberg, both from the PSU Theater Department will be working as adjunct professors of Blue Mountain Community College. Students will be viewing four different movie versions of Hamlet and writing papers about the movies. Additional credit will also be available for participants in our Hamlet Project performance.

“The Winter’s Tale” 2014

Florizel swept Perdita off her feet.

Florizel swept Perdita off her feet.

This year’s performance was the best yet! Over the years, trust and confidence has grown to the point that the energy and joy in the room was palpable. The audience was treated to a full regalia of pageantry.

2013 Performance of King Lear



King Lear proved to be a compelling performance. This was our fourth Shakespeare play to be performed by the inmates at Two Rivers Correctional Institution; last year we did “Twelve Angry Men”. There are members of the cast that have performed in more than one of our plays, providing us with the opportunity to see their broad range of skills and talent take on new challenges and grow.

Many of the audience members are returnees as well. This is a rich experience for all of us. Not only do we get the chance to be part of an exquisite performance, either as audience member or performer, but also to engage in conversation in the q&a afterwards and then complete the evening with song.

Getting Costumes for King Lear

a coat for King Lear

Johnny tries on coat for King Lear.

July 8, 2013: We visited the Portland Opera Costume Warehouse to pick out costumes for our September performance of King Lear.

Twelve Angry Men

Program artwork

program artwork by Nancy Scharbach

For 2012, we produced Twevle Angry Men, a drama concerning the jury of a homicide trial. The play was performed for inmates as well as two performance for the outside community, including family and friends of the performers and supporters of Open Hearts Open Minds. We were very fortunate to have Lebanese film director and drama therapist Zeina Daccache attend a performance. She also spent an extra day touring the prison, meeting with the performers where she did a couple of drama therapy exercises and shared some of her film with the men.

Twelfth Night

James Franco at Two Rivers Correctional Institution

James Franco at performance of Twelfth Night

In Fall of 2011 we successfully produced our third Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. Both families and community members were fully entertained. The visitor’s room was transformed into a crowded performance space with a prelude of Elizabethan music greeting the audience as they walked in. Those who have been to previous performanceshad the opportunity to see some of their favorite performers in new rolls.

Read more about the performance and James Franco’s visit in the December 2011 edition of Ruralite.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream performance at Two Rivers

A Midsummer Night’s Dream performance at Two Rivers

We had tremendous fun rehearsing and performing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Two Rivers prison! We spent a lot of time laughing. It’s a very different play than Hamlet! There are more women’s parts. Wacky love mix-ups! Fairies! You have to be brave to play the King of the Fairies in prison!

The two public performances were “sold out,” and the response was overwhelmingly positive. It was a magical and heart-opening experience!

Bushra Azzouz is making a feature-length documentary film about the project. Filming for A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Prison began on June 19 and ended on October 9, 2010. Now comes the editing! If you want to get involved in this project, let us know. There’s lots to do! Call Johnny at: 503-347-6869.


Read the Oregonian article “Hamlet in prison: Inmates discover the play’s the thing” by Bob Hicks about our 2008 production of Hamlet at Two Rivers prison, this article contains a videoclip of the production!

Read the Seattle Times article by Kathy Aney: “Bard’s genius slips through prison bars”

The Tempest Photos Now Live

An Interview with Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh
Patrick just completed directing his third play, The Tempest at Two Rivers Correctional Institution.
> read our interview with Patrick

A Year of Directing Dangerously

Our very own Patrick Walsh has been published in, a national online theatre commons. He writes about his work and experience directing "The Hamlet Project" at Two Rivers Correctional Institution.

> read the article

The Winter’s Tale

A pair of fanciful sheep to add delight to a delightful play.
The 2014 production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale by the inmates at Two Rivers Correctional Institution was the best yet.