In late May and early June, fifteen PCAP graduate and undergraduate students traveled with me to Florianópolis and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for our annual prison theatre exchange program. While we were there, we took theatre classes at our partner universities and accompanied the faculty and students there to do theatre workshops in both men’s and women’s prisons as well as in hospitals, community centers, and favelas (struggling neighborhoods). This was the sixth year of our exchange program, and as always, we were welcomed with open arms by our Brazilian counterparts and all the people in their workshops. A group of Brazilian faculty and students had visited us in Michigan last March during the PCAP Annual Exhibition, and they were able to visit several of PCAP's theatre workshops in prisons. This exchange program is very dear to the hearts of all of us who participate in it because it reminds us that there are kindred spirits in another country doing the same kinds of things that we do.
The group that traveled with me to Brazil spent much time speaking of the great people in their workshops back in Michigan, trying to explain what we do to the many Brazilian folks we met who have never had the chance to visit Michigan. We took some donated PCAP art and copies of the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing to a graphic arts fair in Florianópolis, and the people who bought the work were amazed and very touched to realize that we had brought original works of art and writing by incarcerated people in the United States. They held the work with reverence, and now there is art and writing by PCAP artists and authors in the hands of people in Brazil. I recently shared a version of this article with PCAP's incarcerated participants through our newsletter.
- Ashley Lucas
You can read blog entries from student participants on this trip at razorwirewomen.wordpress.com