In Fall 2018, the PPA Alumni Company began work on writing a new play, Kept Away, designed for family audiences. Kept Away has been commissioned by PPA's long-time collaborator the St. Louis Public Library.
This original production is being written by the company members about incarcerated parents and their struggle to keep connected to their family and children outside of prison. It will open at the Central Library Downtown Tour through 5 or more city public libraries. It is one of four plays that will become available for booking by the PPA Alumni Company in the St. Louis Community throughout the year.
(For more information about our Alumni Company, see our page at: http://prisonartsstl.org/alumni-program)
Kept Away will offer insight into incarceration, rehabilitation, and successful re-entry from the standpoint of parenthood. The play allows the Alumni artists to add a depth of understanding to their community about formerly incarcerated individuals and reclaiming family ties upon re-entry. It also supports their continuing efforts as a returning citizen. By studying, rehearsing, and creating new plays and original characters, the returning citizens of the Alumni Company — all men and women who formerly worked with PPA while incarcerated — continue to grow to understand themselves through contributing artistically to the world. By exploring literature and poetry in developing new dramatic productions for St. Louis audiences, the Alumni Company members articulate their deepest thoughts and discovered ideas.
These continued theatrical contributions to the world — for families, public audiences, and most importantly, for the actors themselves — give voice and image to individuals who often have never before had the opportunity to publicly share their gifts (indeed, their identity) within a performance context that allows them to be heard, understood and appreciated. Through new and exciting performances by the Alumni Company, both joy and community are created.
Kept Away will premier in the Spring of 2019. The project is supported and directed by Christopher Limber, Artistic Director for PPA, and Aarya Locker, Special Events Director for the St. Louis Public Library. Joining them is the playwright, John Wolbers, who will add dramaturgical insight and additional material.