Prison Performing Arts

Program Website:

Contact: Christopher Limber, Director, Adult Prison Programs Prison Performing Arts 3547 Olive Street, Suite 250 St. Louis, MO 63103 314.289.4192 (Direct) 314.289.4199 (Fax)

Program Description: Prison Performing Arts involves incarcerated youth and adults in the performing arts to inspire intellectual curiosity and personal development. We nurture the discipline, teamwork and communication skills necessary for successful re-entry into society. We encourage members of the larger community to connect personally with program participants, and we offer continuing programs for participants who have been released.

Degrees Offered: Not degree-granting

Programs Offered: see above

Headquarters: Missouri

Unique Features: Prison Performing Arts, (PPA) has produced and developed theatre inside of Missouri prisons successfully and artfully for 27 years. Besides published works and Shakespeare, PPA has often brought in consultants and playwrights to work with incarcerated participants to develop new pieces. PPA is part way through completing a multi -year initiative placing nationally-known playwrights into each of three prisons to work with incarcerated artists and create a new play especially for them to perform! These productions will be first performed within each prison and then co-produced in St. Louis in collaboration with a well-known professional Theatre!

The New Plays Initiative will develop and produce three new plays utilizing the voices and input of participating inmates within improvisatory theatre workshops guided by the playwright and PPA’s Director of Adult Programming, Christopher Limber. Each of three workshops will occur at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC,) the North East Correctional Center (NECC,) and the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC.)

Playwrights are carefully chosen for their experience as teaching artists as well as their formidable accomplishments as published playwrights. This skill combination guarantees the highest quality of nurturing, educational and ensemble-based interaction with workshop participants.

Correctional Facility Served: Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC,) the North East Correctional Center (NECC) the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC)St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, Hogan Street Regional Youth Center, the Family Court’s Detention Alternatives Program. Quest Day Treatment Facility with the Division of Youth Services, (for youth who have been certified as adults at) St. Louis City Justice Center.

College/University/Program Affiliation: Prison Performing Arts

Population Served: Men, Women, Young People – all levels of security at differing facilities.

Number of Students: Up to 4,000 a year

Graduates to Date: N/A

Year Founded: 1990

Founders: Agnes Wilcox, Artistic Director Emerita

Funding: We are a 501c3 funded by individual donors, state, local, and national granting institutions, as well as private and corporate foundations.

Program Evaluation: 3

  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs