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‘Human Again’ screening offers look at prison theatre group

By: Kathy Hovis,  AS Communications
June 1, 2017

During reunion weekend, alumni and others will have a chance to see the impact of some of Cornell’s work in the Auburn Correctional Facility during a panel discussion and screening of “Human Again,” a documentary produced by Bruce Levitt, professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

The joint session with the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) and The Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG) at Auburn Correctional Facility will explore Cornell’s involvement with prison education in three facilities in the region. The discussion will include graduates of the prison education program and a former member of the theatre group.

“With the documentary, we wanted to allow the audience to get to know these men who are incarcerated in a maximum-security prison and come out with a different and broader view of them than the stereotype of being a criminal,” said Levitt, who has worked with the Phoenix Players for eight years. “We also hope people will start to understand the process they use, which they call transformation and redemption, happening through theater.”

The film has received accolades from several organizations, including the International Independent Film awards and the Chandler International Film Festival. It follows the story of the five original founders of the theatre group.

The screening will take place on Saturday, June 10, at 3:15 p.m. in the Film Forum, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

Levitt was recently named the inaugural recipient of Cornell’s Engaged Scholar Prize, which recognizes a faculty member who inspires others with innovative integration of teaching, learning and research involving public or community-based partnerships.

The award was given for Levitt’s work with the theatre group, as well as other initiatives including the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble, work with local community organizations and schools and his efforts to develop various community-engaged courses. 

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