In collaboration with Lisa Diamond, Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah and author of the book Fluidity, this semester-long workshop will alternate between group discussions of the psychology and science of close relationships and interactive exercises, informed by the function of intimacy in performance, both in the emotional/visceral connection in the audience-performer contract and in proximal relationships in performance contexts. Participants will get up, move around, and reflect on their own experiences and their own relationships (including the matrix of structural oppression and representation in their social relationships), culminating in a final performance. This course is offered as part of the Cultural Diversity programming through the Office of Ethnic Minority Resources at the Utah Department of Corrections.
November 2015 – February 2016
Timpanagos Unit at Draper Prison, Draper, Utah
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A short-term artistic residency at the Timpanogos Unit for Women at Draper Prison, spring 2015. Originally scheduled as an eight-week workshop and abridged to five weeks, participants developed personal narratives about family, history, and their hopes for the future, all situated within larger conversations about identity and diversity. Participants created a script based loosely on their reading of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which culminated in a workshop performance on May 18th, 2015, for invited guests. This course workshop was offered as part of the Cultural Diversity programming through the Office of Ethnic Minority Resources at the Utah Department of Corrections.
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by participants in the drama workshop at Eyman State Prison
edited and compiled by Julie Rada
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Performance: Friday, April 11th, 2014
Eyman State Prison, Florence, Arizona
(invited guests only)
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In completion of her MFA, Julie facilitated the development of an original, ensemble-based performance with 20 inmates at a men’s medium-security yard. Using techniques borrowed from contemporary performance practices, Julie facilitated the development of a full-length production in twice-weekly sessions, engaging in voice and movement experiments and discussions about aesthetics and community. The performance addressed the theme of "dreams," including the complexity of the so-called "American Dream," and incorporated participants' visions for a better, more-just world.
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"I feel happy, understood, accepted, and grateful to be part of it. There were some ciphers out on the yard that night, I freestyled. I made connections with people I never met. I finally got to get my shine in. I am proud of myself. And all of us. That took courage."
"I feel blessed and overjoyed. The performance seemed so short. It flew. I felt like a celebrity out on the yard after, especially all covered in glitter."
"Thank you. In the performance and after, I felt free. I could forget I was held here and wouldn’t see my family, maybe ever again. For the first time, I was actually thankful I was in prison so I could experience this."
"I was trying to go through every moment of Friday as slowly as possible so I wouldn’t forget it. I want to remember everything. I was sad before it was even over. But, it’s not the outcome; it’s the journey."
"I am still deeply moved and exhilarated. I know something inside changed and I am not the same man. But I am writing more now. And I feel more of a desire to write. There’s so much more inside me."
"When I started this workshop I thought it was going to be something totally different. I didn’t think it would have a lasting effect on my life, but I was wrong."
"Thank you for giving a voice to the thoughts of a group of men who felt abandoned by the world at large. I don’t know if there are words that can accurately describe the feeling I have from the response to our performance. You have given us an opportunity to impact the lives of others and show that we are all the same. The last three months have been the most meaningful and breathtaking of my life. The work and creation of our performance was an amazing experience, and I will never forget it, or you, no matter what."
"I came into this workshop expecting to learn some perform and learn some theatre. Instead, I grew as a person and got in touch with my inner self. I have learned to channel and mold my emotions into passion for creation and how to trust my fellow man in ways I never knew I was able to before."
"Thank you so much for believing in me and in us."
"I enjoyed every second [of the workshop] and I wouldn’t trade this experience for a free ticket out."
"Everything flowed seamlessly, and for the first time in my life, I felt absolutely proud of something I had done."
Federal Correction Institute, Phoenix, Arizona, Summer 2014
(selected but due to site complications, the program was not completed; NEA reference available upon request)
Perryville State Prison, Goodyear, Arizona, Summer 2014
Perryville State Prison, Goodyear, Arizona, Spring 2014
Perryville State Prison, Goodyear, Arizona, Fall 2013
Florence State Prison, Florence, Arizona, Fall 2013
Julie is developing a toolkit that will allow others to benefit from what she has learned working in several prisons. In this toolkit, she will reflect on what works in this kind of environment, sharing methods of practice and keys to success for developing arts-based learning programs in prisons that go beyond good intentions to good outcomes. Specifically, she focuses on outsider privilege, representation (with particular sensitivity to racial and economic issues), and avoiding colonizing or voyeuristic tendencies. In the fall of 2015, Julie taught a three-credit "Prison-Based Theatre" course in the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah.