Founder & Producing Director
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I am an artist who does healing work that is therapeutic. I’m not a therapist who does healing work that is artistic. I never forget the difference.

I have committed my life to creating space to assist human beings move from trauma and shame into a state of being that embraces peace and wholeness.

As a prison arts practitioner, I facilitate the experience, application, and practice of the skills needed to support the intentional habit of creativity that goes into making artistic work.

—Curt L. Tofteland

CURT L. TOFTELAND brings forty+ years of professional theatre experience to his current role as a freelance theatre artist - director, actor, producer, playwright, writer, teacher, program developer, prison arts practitioner, and consultant.

Curt is the Founder of the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB) program, now in its 29th year of continuous operation. From 1995-2008, he facilitated the SBB/KY program at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky. During his thirteen year tenure, he produced and directed fourteen Shakespeare productions. Multiple participants in the SBB/KY program have garnered Pen Literary Prison Writing Awards, as well as been published in academic journals.

During the 2003 SBB production of The Tempest, Philomath Films chronicled the process in a documentary that premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and forty+ film festivals around the world winning a total of eleven film awards.

Curt and Philomath Films are currently in the process of completing a second documentary - Shakespeare BEYOND Bars - as a followup of the SBB alumni from the first documentary who are now returned citizens and their families.

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Director of SBB|KY Programs
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Matt has been Director/Facilitator of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex and the Kentucky programs since 2008, directing SBB seasons of King Lear, Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius CaesarTwelfth Night, Pericles, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, and Macbeth. He served as Program Director and Facilitator of the SBB Multidisciplinary Juvenile Arts Program at the Audubon Youth Development Center for several years and created the Shakespeare Beyond Bars programs at Louisville Day Treatment Center, Home of the Innocents, and Uspiritus. He also created and facilitated the Journeymen Programs for 18-21 year olds at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex and Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, a partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and Arts for All Kentucky, the state organization on arts and disability. The Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency awarded Matt the Volunteer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Kentucky Criminal Justice System.

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Co-Facilitator, SBB|Kentucky

Keith McGill has been a free-lance theater teacher and workshop leader for over a decade for organizations including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, ArtsReach, and Walden Theatre and Actors’ Theatre’s New Voices playwriting program. He has also appeared in productions with various theatre organizations, such as Actors Theatre, The Necessary Theatre, Pleaides Theatre, Louisville Repertory Theatre, Looking for Lilith Theatre Company and the Royal Palm Players. Keith is very excited and proud to be part of Shakespeare Behind Bars.

Co-Facilitator, SBB|Kentucky

Gregory Maupin is a Louisville native and theater artist based in the city for the last twenty years. For the last couple of seasons he’s been the whole cast of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s solo A Christmas Carol and since 2014 has regularly been a performer, dramaturg, and text coach with Kentucky Shakespeare’s acting company, as well as leading a series of sessions about the plays with an international group of adult Shakespeare nerds since 2017. He has directed plays for Kentucky Shakespeare, Iroquois Amphitheater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, taught workshops and classes in physical theater, commedia dell’arte, clown performance, physical comedy, and directing across the country, and adapted works by Aristophanes, Moliere, and Shakespeare for various companies.

He and his wife Abigail are Prohibition ukulele duo Rannygazoo, performing lost songs of the early 20th century since 2006 and writing/performing songs and radio sketches for Kentucky Homefront and Kentucky USA.  In 2004 they co-founded Louisville’s Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, a company that created more than 25 original pieces and several adaptations of classics in its decade of experimentation. They also co-wrote the family play The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood (Starring Robin Hood as “Robin Hood”), and narrate audiobooks for the American Printing House for the Blind.

Gregory is also a charter member of Brooklyn’s Under the Table Ensemble and co-founder of the Church of Grover’s Corners, a group of mostly normal (non-theater) people who gather for play readings in Louisville and on Zoom.

Kentucky Shakespeare appearances include: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Guildenstern),Twelfth Night (Malvolio 2016; Feste 2022), Much Ado about Nothing(Benedick),Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio), As You Like It (Touchstone), Romeo & Juliet (Capulet, Friar), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom), Merry Wives of Windsor (Ford), Macbeth (Porter), Henry V (Fluellen), Richard III (Buckingham), Hamlet (Polonius), Enter Ghost (Polonius) Pride & Prejudice (Mr. Bennett, Charlotte Lucas).

With Actors Theatre: A Christmas Carol: Ghost Story (solo show), Luna Gale(Cliff), At the Vanishing Point(Martin), Our Town(Simon Stimson), Midsummer (Flute), An Examination of the Whole Playwright/Actor Relationship Presented as Some Kind of Cop Show Parody (Officer Maupin), Macbeth,43 Plays for 43 Presidents. With the Dell’Arte Company: Vaudeville(co-creator).

Gregory graduated from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, an ensemble-based performance school in northern California and also has a BFA in Theater (Performance) and a BA in English from the University of Louisville.

Co-Facilitator, SBB|Kentucky

Crystian has been a proud member of Louisville’s theatre community for many years. Since 2014, he has worked with Kentucky Shakespeare, Actors Theatre of Louisville, StageOne Family Theatre, Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, and more. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he was a prominent figure in UofL’s African-American Theatre Program.

His career in theatre would eventually lead him to Cincinnati where he was involved in both acting and artistic leadership at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Currently, he serves as the first Community Engagement Manager of StageOne Family Theatre. No matter where his career has taken him, Crystian has always found a way to show his support for Shakespeare Behind Bars. Not just as an audience member, but through a production of Romeo & Juliet with Kentucky Shakespeare he was able to perform for SBB members and engaged in a wonderful post-show discussion. Now that he has returned to his artistic home in Louisville, he is honored to join the Shakespeare Behind Bars family.

Co-Facilitator, SBB|Kentucky

Brian Hinds is a theater teacher at the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS), where he teaches freshman theatre majors and playwriting. Originally from Maine, Brian spent ten years with the Children’s Theatre of Maine, where he served as an actor, instructor, and director. Since moving to Louisville, Brian worked as an outreach artist with Kentucky Shakespeare and Commonwealth Theatre Center. As an actor, Brian has performed with Kentucky Shakespeare (Burbage in Shakespeare in Love, Macbeth in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot: Macbeth, Richard in Richard III, Macduff in Macbeth, Sir Toby in Twelfth Night, Cassius in Julius Caesar), StageOne Family Theatre, The Bard Theater (Rx, Seminar), Liminal Playhouse (Captain Tock in The Fastest Clock in the Universe) and Savage Rose Classical Theatre (Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and Prospero in The Tempest). Recent directing credits include The Comedy of Errors, The Crucible, Tom Jones, Hamlet, and Our Town at YPAS. Brian is also a member of Louisville Improvisors.

Co-Facilitator - SBB|Michigan

Kate currently teaches at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Co-Facilitator - SBB|Michigan

Joseph relocated to Portland, Oregon.

Co-Facilitator SBB|Michigan

Edward joined Shakespeare Behind Bars|Michigan as a facilitator-in-training in 2013.  He began his career as a Systems Design and Analysis analyst for the US Air Force. Following his Honorable Discharge, Edward worked for Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company (Operations Management Company for the Nevada Nuclear Test Site) in Las Vegas Nevada. While in Las Vegas, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Personnel Management, from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; he taught Systems Design and Analysis and Introduction to Computers at the Clark County Community College; and he began his consulting business, Hartline and Associates, LLC.

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mary.bridget.mccarthyBRIDGIT MCCARTHYCo-Facilitator SBB|Michigan

Bridgit relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.

Laura Peach_pixLAURA PEACH
Co-Facilitator SBB|Michigan

Laura relocated to Australia.

Resident Costume Designer – 1999 - 2008

Michelle was the first professional Costume Designer for the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex.  Michelle designed costumes for ten years, including being a part of Philomath Films multiple award-winning documentary, Shakespeare Behind Bars.

It was during these early years of the program that Michelle developed with Founder Curt L. Tofteland, the aesthetic of never completely covering the tan prison uniforms.   Michelle and Curt felt it was vital to the audience experience that they view the performance through multiple layers as originally intended by Shakespeare, as well as  through the added layer of the stark reality of life in prison.

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Costume Designer – SBB|Kentucky

Donna joined the SBB team in 2010. She has designed costumes for SBB at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex productions of King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, Pericles, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Richard III.

Donna has been part of the Louisville Theatre family for over 25 years.  Currently, she is the resident costume designer for Kentucky Shakespeare.  She was costume shop manager, draper and resident designer for StageOne for 18 seasons as well as costume shop manager and resident designer for Music Theatre Louisville for 15 seasons and worked as shoe mitress and draper/first hand at Louisville Ballet for 6 years.  She has been lucky enough to work with many theatres in town, including Kentucky Opera, Pandora Productions, CenterStage,  Bellarmine University, Actor’s Theatre, Kentucky Country Day and Derby Dinner Playhouse.

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