Dante Project, Wesleyan University – Prison Outreach

dante-project-wesleyan-university-prison-outreach“. . .Dr. Jenkins, who has taught in Wesleyan’s theater department for 11 years, introduced prison outreach into the curriculum in 2007, bringing students to the York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Niantic, to work with inmates on literary classics. In 2009 and 2010, they began concentrating on ‘Inferno’; this year, because of construction at York, the class took place at the men’s facility in Niantic, the J.B. Gates Correctional Institution. . .
The semester culminated with performances. The Gates inmates presented their work to their peers, and at Wesleyan, the students performed the writings of the inmates for the college community. In the classroom at Sing Sing, the inmates performed for the Wesleyan students, and then the students presented the Gates men’s words, for which they received a standing ovation from the inmates. All of the performances ended with the same line, the last of the poem: ‘E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.’ “And then we emerged to look again at the stars.” [. . .]    –Susan Hodara, The New York Times, December 24, 2010