PVCC Presents Fourth Installment of Flying in Place

Charlottesville, Va. – April 16, 2024 – The Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) Division of Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences will present a fourth installment of “Flying in Place,” a performance-based reading of creative writings authored by PVCC students who are currently incarcerated. This time, the series looks to the interactive “playback theatre” format and live music accompaniment to connect compositions by students in the PVCC Higher Education in Prison program to the lived experience of audience members. 

Three performances will take place: Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, each night at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee performance on Sunday, April 21, at 2:30 p.m. Events will be held in the V. Earl Dickinson Building’s Maxwell Theatre (Black Box). Due to the intimate nature of the small theatre, only 60 seats are available for each performance and no late seating is allowed. The doors to the theatre open 30 minutes prior to showtime. Admission is free. 

Playback is a unique form of improvisational theatre that focuses on storytelling. The process invites audience members to share their true stories in response to a prompt–in this case, poems and manuscripts by students at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Buckingham Correctional Center, and Dillwyn Correctional Center. Actors, musicians and movement practitioners then distill and re-interpret common threads in the stories for the stage.

"The key to this type of improvisation,” says Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Brad Stoller, “is finding the heart of the stories and expressing it in a way that allows both the storyteller and the audience to be transported to a new understanding.” 

Flying in Place was first conceived of and presented as a multi-disciplinary endeavor in the spring of 2022 by division dean Dr. Leonda Keniston with the support of several PVCC faculty members. The goal, according to Keniston, was not just to highlight the students’ work.
  
“The purpose was to build a bridge between the incarcerated students that we serve to the entire region that PVCC serves. We wanted our students to be part of something bigger. We wanted to see the community, as well, change perceptions about those who are incarcerated,” says Keniston.  

The performance is a component of The Prison Creative Arts Project, a two-part initiative supported by a grant from Virginia Humanities. The project aims to collect original writings and artworks from incarcerated students enrolled in the Higher Education in Prison program for use in annual theatrical productions based on their stories.  

The V. Earl Dickinson Building is at the south end of 501 College Drive on the PVCC main campus in Charlottesville. Ample parking is available in front of the building. The facilities are wheelchair accessible. 

For more information, email boxoffice@pvcc.edu or call 434.961.5376. Learn more about the PVCC Fine Arts and Performance season at www.pvcc.edu/performingarts

About Piedmont Virginia Community College
Established in 1972, Piedmont Virginia Community College is a nonresidential two-year institution of higher education that serves Central Virginia – principally, residents of the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson. PVCC is one of 23 community colleges in Virginia that comprise the Virginia Community College System. PVCC is committed to providing access to a college education for all who can benefit, an opportunity for each student to reach her/his potential and excellence in all programs and services. Visit pvcc.edu to learn more.


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Photograph courtesy of Piedmont Virginia Community College
 

Department

Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences Division