On May 15, 2023, Curt L. Tofteland, Founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, returned to the Northpoint Training Center, after a hiatus of three years due to the National COVID restrictions, for a face-to-face week of workshops. Curt worked with 6 Voices Inside mentors and 12 new prisoners for the Journeyman Program and 11 prisoners for the Voices Inside Playwriting Program.
During the 2020-22 COVID national lock down of the prison system, Curt L. Tofteland, Founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, received permission from the Northpoint Training Center Warden to facilitate an email correspondence version of the Journeyman Program. Curt wrote a Shakespeare Behind Bars Workbook that was distributed to prisoners who were interested in the program. A combination of 10 prisoners from the Voices Inside Playwriting Program and the Journeyman Program completed the program.
On May 6, 2019, Curt L. Tofteland, the Founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB), returned to Northpoint Training Center (NTC) for a first year of the Journeyman Program. Curt worked with 4 Senior Mentors who were members of the Voices Inside Playwriting Program and 6 Journeyman prisoners who volunteered to participate in the program.
In the summer of 2010, Curt L. Tofteland, Founder & Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, partnered with filmmaker/director/producer Robby Henson, Holly Henson, Artistic Director of Pioneer Playhouse, and playwright Elizabeth Orndorf to begin a new 10-minute playwriting program funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, Kentucky.
May 24th, 2011, Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced the Pioneer School of Drama (d.b.a. Pioneer Playhouse) in collaboration with Shakespeare Behind Bars Founder Curt L. Tofteland and professional playwright Elizabeth Orndorff was recommended for a grant of $15,000 to support the Northpoint “Voices of a Kentucky Prison” play writing project. It is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state and local organizations recommended for a grant, as part of the federal agency's second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the arts endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.
Since 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded a $15,000 grant to support the Voices Inside Prison Playwriting Program at the Northpoint Training Center (NTC) in Burgin, KY.
“I am excited that the Pioneer Playhouse is interested in coordinating and conducting this project at Northpoint. I am always eager to partner with community agencies in events that are beneficial to the inmates and help teach positive new skills and interest,” said Steve Haney, Northpoint's warden.
Voices Inside, the inmate writing and theatre program at Northpoint Training Center
Theatre Lab in New York City presents an evening of plays by Northpoint Playwrights.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Theaterlab, in association with AMZ Creative LLC, will present “Northpoint: Voices from a Prison,” a one-night-only benefit reading of short plays written by inmates at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison in Burgin. The playwrighting project is a collaboration between Curt L. Tofteland, Founder & Producing Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, Robbie Henson, Producer of Pioneer Playhouse, and Elizabeth Orndorff, a professional playwright.
“Northpoint: Voices from a Kentucky Prison” took place Monday May 23, 2011 at 7 p.m. Monday at Baruch Performing Arts Center (25th between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue). The benefit includes the reading, live music by singer-songwriter Doug Wamble, and a post-show reception.