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Lynn Clay Byrne's BETWEEN THE BARS Announces Community Conversations


Between The Bars will initially run through October 30, 2021, at  HERE Arts Center (145 6th Avenue, NYC).

Lynn Clay Byrne's BETWEEN THE BARS Announces Community Conversations

Between The Bars, a new play by Lynn Clay Byrne, directed by Benjamin Viertel, opening on September 30, 2021, has announced a weekly series of Community Conversations following select performances in October. The post-performance discussions will feature a different local organization committed to restorative justice and/or prison reform, moderated by actor, writer, and activist Robert Galinsky.

Between The Bars was well into rehearsal and ready to open in March of 2020 when the pandemic hit and shut down theatres around the country. After 18 months, the cast and creative team will reconnect and finally return to the stage. Between The Bars will initially run through October 30, 2021, at HERE Arts Center (145 6th Avenue, NYC). Tickets are $35.00-75.00 and can be purchased by visiting

Inspired by true events and set within the confines of the jailhouse visit room, emotionally charged meetings between incarcerated people and visitors expose the reality of our American jail system. We observe how the impact of incarceration diminishes any chance of success for people who have served their time. Between The Bars follows five incarcerated individuals and their loved ones, bringing to light critical systemic failures and questioning who belongs on which side of the bars.

The post-show Community Conversations schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, 10/6: Special Guest Keith Shocklee, original member of Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad, will be in conversation with Literacy for Incarcerated Teens and The KITE.

Purchase tickets to this performance and Community Conversation (10/6) here.

Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT) is the only non-profit organization of its kind working to end illiteracy among New York's incarcerated young people by inspiring them to read and by building and maintaining libraries in facilities.

The KITE facilitates creative writing and storytelling workshops for incarcerated youth and adults detained in NYC's jails and prisons. We believe that telling our truths has the power to heal ourselves and those around us and that finding our voice can set us free. We strive to create safe spaces on the inside, and support systems on the outside, for students to rehabilitate through the arts so that they can reinvent futures devoid of police contact.

Monday, 10/11

Special Guest Richard Stratton, award-winning writer and filmmaker behind "Slam," (winner of the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and the Camera d'Or at Cannes), will be in conversation with Hour Children.

Purchase tickets to this performance and Community Conversation (10/11) here.

Hour Children is a Long Island City-based not for profit organization working to respond to the unique and overlooked needs of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children. Named for the hours that impact the life of a child with an incarcerated mother - the hour of her arrest, the hour of their visit, and the hour of their reunification - we provide a comprehensive array of programs and services that enables mothers and children to remain connected in meaningful ways during the painful period of incarceration, and build positive, hope-filled futures upon her release.

Monday, 10/18

Special Guest Ron Kuby, American criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, radio talk show host and television commentator, will be in conversation with Prison Writes and The Institute for Transformative Mentoring.

Purchase tickets to this performance and Community Conversation (10/18) here.

Prison Writes is committed to providing meaningful structured workshops resulting in tangible outcomes for participants. Workshop content, theme and focus are tailored to each groups specific interests and needs. We work with all ages and groups of people impacted by incarceration, from toddlers to senior citizens.

The Institute for Transformative Mentoring (ITM) is a dynamic training program focused on the development of credible messengers (formerly incarcerated men and women) working in the social services fields throughout New York City. These mentors help young people navigate community violence and avoid the criminal justice system. Credible messengers are gaining systems-level recognition in New York City as an effective strategy to reduce crime and criminal justice involvement.

Monday, 10/25

A conversation with Coss Marte, CEO and Founder of CONBODY, and Defy Ventures, with Special Guest to be announced.

Purchase tickets to this performance and Community Conversation (10/25) here.

Coss Marte was sent to jail as the ringleader of a multi-million dollar marijuana operation. He was also grossly overweight and warned by his physician that his current lifestyle, if left unchecked, would likely kill him. Faced with this grim prognosis, Coss started to get in shape using the tools he had -- his prison cell and his own body weight. Within six months he lost 70 pounds and replicated his successful formula of body weight exercises with 20 other inmates. Then he launched CONBODY, a prison style bootcamp that has gained over 50,000+ clients and hires formerly incarcerated individuals to teach fitness classes. Since the launch of his company he's been featured in over 200 major media outlets such as NBC, CNN, The New York Times, 3 time TED talk speaker, and Men's Fitness.

Defy Ventures is a national nonprofit whose mission is to shift mindsets to give people with criminal histories their best shot at a second chance through entrepreneurship, career readiness, and personal development training programs delivered both in prison and in the community. Defy's vision is to cut recidivism (return-to-prison) rates in half by leveraging entrepreneurship to increase economic opportunity and transform lives. Defy supports currently and formerly incarcerated people in defying the odds across eight states and 16 prisons throughout the country. Together with the thousands of business executives and leaders in our network, we are helping to shift the conversation and landscape of opportunity for people with criminal histories.

Here Arts Center requires all audience members to show proof of vaccination to enter the building and remained masked while in the building. The producers of Between the Bars are following all of the current COVID safety guidelines set forth by the CDC and agreed upon by the theatrical unions.

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