Every year for the past 15 years Freehold Theatre has graciously volunteered at Monroe’s Twin Rivers Corrections. This 5 month residency for the inmate participants begins with stage performance coaching and 3 months of group writing and culminates with a completely original play written by inmates.

This will be my second year doing it and I couldn’t be more excited. My favorite part of the process is the writing. It’s a judgment free event where I get to exercise my written creativity as well as muck out my stalls, so to speak. It’s a chance to connect with other people, I need that.

Even though we end with a performance that is not the highlight. The highlight is the journey, that’s the beautiful part, that’s where the artwork lakes. I wish I could show you that process visually. We laugh until tears roll down our faces, we bare our hearts to one another, we dare to imagine a life where we have meaning.

We learn to laugh at our shortcomings and our very human natures. The volunteers who come in get just as much out of this, though I won’t speak for them. I can tell they enjoy being here as much as we enjoy being around them.

This is one journey I never thought I would be on. Life’s unexpected little twists and turns can have extraordinary impact in the most positive ways, the question is, will you be bold enough to try and enjoy it?

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With Love
Jeff aka Ruthie Utnage