Performing Arts

Living Shakespeare

Shakespeare has written about every human circumstance.  Scott Cox brings the Bard to life in the medium security unit of prison  by leading a troupe of inmate actors through one play a year.  To date, the group has performed Macbeth, The Tempest and Titus Andronicus to appreciative audiences of inmates and Arts in Prison supporters inside of the facility. In June of 2015 they will perform Much Ado About Nothing.  Every man can find himself in Shakespeare.  As inmates perform their roles they come to know themselves better.  The annual Shakespeare play has become a not to be missed event inside of the compound.


ScottCoxScott is a Missouri native who began acting professionally at 14. He is an actor, playwright, and director currently serving as Chair of Theatre & Dance at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California, before getting his BA in Theatre at Missouri State University. He received his MA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy at UMKC, and is currently writing his doctoral dissertation for the University of Kansas. He spent two seasons touring with The Coterie Theatre’s Once Upon a Treasure Trunk and has served as a teaching artist for the organization since 2004. Scott spent three seasons with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and has played on many stages across the Midwest. He performed in the one-man show Thom Pain (based on nothing), a Relevance Productions show at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, which was selected by The Pitch as “Best Play in Kansas City, 2010.” He has developed arts programs and taught theatre for the University of Central Missouri, Starlight Theatre, The Coterie Theatre, reStart Shelter, Benedictine College, and the University of Kansas.  Scott currently serves as Chair of  Theatre & Dance at Benedictine College.

Spoken Word

Theodore “Priest” Hughes and Desmond “337” Jones teach the art of creative writing and spoken word.  Penning their thoughts on important cultural topics and current events as well as exploring their pasts through stories and poems is a cathartic experience to inmates who have spent most of their lives behind prison walls. Giving life to their words with performance skills makes the lessons learned accessible not only to the authors but to others as well.  This very popular program has brought the art of the Slam to the prison  with teams and individuals competing.  “Found stories” have also been strung together and enhanced by music to bring the experiences of incarceration to the stage.

The REcipeTheodore “Priest” Hughes and Desmond “3-3-7” Jones, lifetime poets and also ten year veterans in performance poetry, came together and launched in 2005 as a duo poetry team known as The Recipe. “We chose to work in a team format to encourage peoples to work together towards common goals. We believe that by exemplifying excellence and teamwork as spoken word artist/activist we can influence change.”

The Recipe quickly became known for its dramatic heartfelt chemistry during performances. Incorporating multiple artistic mediums to heighten the social conscious message becoming known as Dramatic Art n Rhythm, “We combined props, music and theatrical interpretations with spoken word.” Audience acceptance and appreciation led to winning many local poetry slams, opening doors to do featured performances around the Kansas City area and nationally.

Assessing the situation and thinking quickly on your feet is an important skill for everyday life, inside or outside prison walls. This program utilizes games and skits to challenge inmates to think creatively and to expect the unexpected. Strenuous brain work and uproarous laughter combine to create a strong learning environment.