The Proscenium Cage: Critical Case Studies in U.S. Prison Theatre Programs

by Laurence Tocci


The Proscenium Cage is an examination of sample companies that produce theatre with and for prison inmates. The book is a compilation of comprehensive case studies of three such producing companies. Based on personal interviews, newspaper reviews and articles, and other testimonials from participants, each case study catalogs the working processes of the given company, the conditions they faced working in the prison environment, and how the theatre-artists tailored their work to meet these conditions. Alongside the empirical study of the companies, the author has employed prevalent theories from criminology and penology, as well as applicable performance theory, to discuss the significance of the theatre work as a social phenomenon within the very specific culture of the prison. From these individual studies, the author draws conclusions about the potential importance and place theatre could have in the penal system.

This book, a first study of its kind, is a groundbreaking and important contribution to theatre studies. The foreword is by Dr. Lorraine Moller, Assistant Professor of Performance at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Artistic Director of Rehabilitation Through the Arts.


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