Working with incarcerated people presents certain challenges. We want their voices and stories to be heard but we also need to protect their anonymity. Here are some thoughts from recent some students.
Feedback from student inmates at Rose M. Singer Center:
“Sometimes I forget where I am in this class. It’s like I’m free.”
“I had to come to jail to meet great people like Pauletta Washington and Yusef Komunyakaa and Jack the Shakespeare teacher and of course Joanne who makes us laugh every week. And do things we can’t really do. I am going to go to Stella Adler Studio when I get out and keep acting.”
“When I get out I’m going to bring my kids to museums and read to them. I wish they could have this class. Thank you for coming here every week.”
“I never knew I could understand poetry and Shakespeare.”
“I never even spoke before this class. I didn’t understand English, but now I speak really loud and people listen to me. And I tell Joanne my poems and she writes them down for me. That’s very nice.”
“I met people who care about me in this class. Everybody acts different. It’s fun.”
“I like Shakespeare. And I never would have known that. Thanks, Stella Adler.”
“As a Rosie Inmate I thank you for taking the time and help us understand the acting world. This discussion always helps us to resolve conflicts. Thank you.”
“I’m going to bring my son to the Stella Adler Studio so he can find his duende and learn poetry and write his own poetry. I thank God for Stella Adler.”
“I feel alive. I feel strong. I feel happy. I don’t want to hurt nobody. I don’t want nobody to hurt me.”
“She said no one is judging us. It’s just taking acting class. It’s good.”
Feedback from student inmates at George R. Vierno Center/maximum security:
“In this room, we engaged each other as humans. Whatever past mistakes we made or didn’t make, we laughed together and told stories together.” – A. R.
“What a wonderful experience to be able to share and create beautiful art with Stella Adler students in AMKC and OutsideIn. Beyond inspired and grateful to be able to be a part of this class and meet so many amazingly talented people!” – A. J. L.
“Beyond the rusty gates, the gray bars, such an inspirational group awaited. We came, we laughed, we listened. These men, young and old, transferred us beyond these Rikers walls. Just with their acting skills. Tommy, Suzy, Stella keep up the great job!” – C. Y.
“This is what I’ve been looking for my whole life – somewhere I can learn to hone my crafts and work with some really amazing people. Thank you for this gift!” – W.G.