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SUNY Potsdam Presents Playwriting Across Prison Walls Play Festival

October 26, 2018

The Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Potsdam will present, for the first time ever, a staged reading of seven short plays by playwrights incarcerated at Riverview Correctional Facility in Ogdensburg, N.Y.

The free Playwriting Across Prison Walls Festival will be presented on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., in the Black Box Theater, located in the College’s Performance Arts Center.

Playwriting Across Prison Walls is the beginning of great community theatre—providing a voice and a platform to those behind bars. In addition to the performance at SUNY Potsdam, there were staged readings at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and the Riverview Correctional Facility earlier this semester. All seven plays will be read by the students enrolled in the upper-division “Theatre in the Community” course offered this semester.

With months of script development, Assistant Professor Rivka Rocchio worked closely with the men at Riverview Facility to help them expand their ideas and make sense of their findings, as well as create cohesive plays to be put on stage.

The playwrights and title of the plays are as follows:

  • Jose A. Bell, “Up and Down Our Stares”
  • Chazz McDowell, “Sleep or Duty”
  • Christopher Chiaro, “The Meaning of Luminance”
  • Karon Ragoobar, “The Dream”
  • Corey “Harlow” McWhirter, “Diggin’ Deep on the Surface”
  • Angelo M. Collins, “Urban Legend”
  • Richard Sanders, “Lies, Deception”

Admission to the staged reading is free, and run-time for the show is approximately 90 minutes. A talk-back will follow the performance, and audience members will be asked to complete surveys in response to the performance. The surveys are voluntary.

To reserve free seats in advance, contact the Community Performance Series Box Office at (315) 267-2277.

For more information on this performance, please contact the Department of Theatre and Dance, at (315) 267-2556.

From directing, choreographing, acting and dancing, to designing and technical work, theatre and dance are highly collaborative art forms at SUNY Potsdam. Students and professionals engage in creative problem solving, requiring the setting and meeting of long-term goals, and the analysis and understanding of movement and dramatic literature. For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Theatre and Dance, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of only three arts campuses in the entire SUNY system. SUNY Potsdam’s arts curriculum offers the full palette: music, theatre, dance, fine arts and creative writing. No matter the discipline, people from all backgrounds can find their creative compass at Potsdam, with myriad arts immersion experiences available for both campus and community.

For Media Inquiries

Jason Hunter, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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