Moving Shakespeare. Reducing Recidivism.
Our guest, Suraya Keating, introduces her work with the Marin Shakespeare Theater Company, which was focused on the Shakespeare Prison Programs. She invited two program participants, Joey Mason and John Windham, to share their experiences and explain how and why their Theater participation has changed the way they approach their lives now. Joey and John are returned citizens giving back to society by mentoring and positively influencing at-risk individuals. Suraya continues her Shakespeare for Social Justice program by expanding into other prison systems, as well as, founding and directing the “Returned Citizens Theater Troupe” for those who have returned home after long periods of incarceration. This is a simple, straight-forward program that allows participants to learn, engage and challenge themselves to grow and move beyond all obstacles, while offering a community of support for others. As SASVY! Producers, we were inspired and congratulate Suraya, Joey and John for their important work towards personal and collective transformation.
Suraya Keating, MFT, REAT, RDT
Suraya Keating is an actress, Registered Drama Therapist and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. She is the ‘Shakespeare for Social Justice’ Director for the Marin Shakespeare Company. Since 2005, Suraya has facilitated the growth of their “Shakespeare in Prison” programs, which includes the performing of Plays as well as original theater inspired by Shakespeare themes. In 2015, Suraya founded and began directing the “Returned Citizens’ Theater Troupe”, in which individuals who have returned home after long periods of incarceration, create theater based on meaningful themes and experiences. Deeply aware of the healing power of life stories, Suraya has written and performed six autobiographical solo shows, and has directed many others in the creation and performance of life story theater. As a perpetual student of improvisational theater forms, Suraya is delighted to work with two Playback Theater troupes in the San Francisco Bay area — The Bay Area Playback and the San Francisco Playback Theater. https://www.suraya.org
Joey Mason became addicted to meth in 1985. He was married to his first wife, had a home and a great job. His criminal behavior followed and by 1991, he was sentence to one year in prison. Upon release, Joey stayed clean for 8 years, but relapsed. This time, he lost his second wife, house and job and was given 25-years to life under the three-strikes law for non-violent crimes. Joey worked hard inside prison for 20-years. He feels it paid off for him because he has been in recovery for over 22 years. Currently, Joey works for the Alameda County Probation Department as their first community outreach worker, who has lived on the other side of the probation system.
John Windham was incarcerated for 30 years and has since returned home for two years. He is the Co-Owner and CEO of “We All We Got JMW Foundation”, which assists the formally incarcerated with housing, employment and a sober living environment. John is a member of the Returning Citizens Troop Theater (RCTT), an activist and community leader.