We had one of the most healing experiences as artists and as a company performing and facilitating at Grafton Correctional Institute. With 90% of our young company having loved ones either recently or currently incarcerated, the healing ran deep. It was a privilege to exchange testimonies, co-create, and break bread with the beautiful men who attended. We laughed and we cried and we promised to return.

Brooklyn resident Samara Gaev just had one of her most intense, most powerful and most rewarding years ever.

As the founder of Truthworker Theatre Company, a Brooklyn-based social justice hop-hop theatre company for high school and college-age youth, Gaev spent much of 2015 working with young people to illuminate the problem of the school-to-prison pipeline that has affected so many in New York City and around the country.

Together, Gaev and the young students wrote, produced and performed two plays– Bar Code: A Performative Analysis of the School to Prison Pipeline, and In|Prism: Boxed In & Blacked Out in AmericaWith 28 performance engagements throughout the country, reaching over 2,525 people, from students to inmates to professors to cops, Gaeve says they have so much to be grateful for and so much to strive towards in 2016.

“2015 was a year of great collaboration, inspiration and action for Truthworker Theatre Company,” said Gaev. “This year, we are diving into the creation of our third production, focused on re-entry after incarceration, which will complete a three part trilogy examining the prison industrial complex.”

Check out some of the photos Gaev has shared with The Brooklyn Reader, taken along their journey. If you are inspired to be a part of the movement of change for young people who are fighting to break the chains of incarceration and forge a new path forward, you can help by spreading the word and/or donating!

“Your support will help us to uphold our commitment to provide professional stipends for all of the young artists and maintain year-round programming inclusive of rigorous training, guest artists, food and transportation for the youth, and the development and production of pivotal new works,” said Gaev. “If you feel moved to make a contribution to sustain our 2016 work and beyond, we would be so thankful!”

BRIC TV produced a beautiful mini doc on Truthworker as a part of their Bklyn Made series. Click here to listen/watch/read about Truthworker in the press. Also, you may go here to make a donation.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of BK Reader.

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