Updated: Jan 26
Village Arts Performs at Fremont Correctional Facility
By Kellyn Morrissey Village Arts 2018 Intern
On Saturday, November 3rd, Village Arts had the privilege to take our show, The Importance of Being Earnest, to the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. Nancy Holaday, who played Lady Bracknell, asked the cast if we would be able to perform in the prison where she teaches theatre classes. Two of the cast members were unable to make the performance, so Sean Bateman jumped in for Chasuble, and I took over for Cecily.
A week after the shows at Village 7, the cast met up in the freezing cold and carpooled down to Canon City. When we got there, we were led to our performance space, a room that could hold 75 people. The guards told us they had no idea how many people would actually show up; however, a few minutes after the call for our show was announced, we had a full house! It took a few minutes for the cast and the audience to get comfortable, but once the ice was broken, everyone was having so much fun! By the time I had my first appearance in Act 2, the audience was so invested and laughed so much at every little thing, that it was so hard for me to not join them!
When the performance came to a close, the gave us a standing ovation. Then, each one of the guys went around and shook every cast member’s hand, thanking us over and over again for coming. One person told me that right from the beginning, we transported them elsewhere, that it was great to be able to escape the realities of life for just a few hours. Another said that he had never seen his friend laugh so hard and stand up and applaud like he did. Some of them told me this was their first piece of theatre they had ever seen. Even the guards at the end said they had never seen anything like it — so many of these guys, in one room, all laughing and cheering as much as they did. It was truly moving. The guards also remarked that it was the perfect storm for everything to come together in such a short time and to have the turnout that it did. We said we had our awesome God to thank for that.
Overall it was such an amazing opportunity that Village Arts could do outreach theatre and bless these men. How exciting that we can branch out and do new things and bring light to others along the way. It is an experience we hope to have again in the future.