STATEVILLE VOICES: A Festival Of Short Plays

In the spring of 2019, through the Northwestern Prison Education Program, playwright and Goodman Artistic Associate, Rebecca Gilman, taught playwriting at the Stateville Correctional Center.

The students embraced their first playwriting class and, for their final projects, each wrote a short play. Ranging from comic to tragic, the plays tackle subjects as unique, original, and inspiring as the men who wrote them.

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, we planned to offer three live performances of the Stateville Voices plays: one at the Goodman, one at Kennedy-King College and one at Stateville.

We still intend to present live readings at the Goodman and Kennedy-King once it is safe to do so. We also want to take the plays to Stateville when the prison is no longer on lockdown.

However, given that the population at Stateville has been one of the hardest hit by COVID19 in the country, we felt it was urgent to present a live virtual event featuring some of the Stateville Voices plays as well as a panel discussion looking at what life is like at Stateville at the present moment.

Live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, July 3 at 5PM.


REDEMPTION: More Than A Song, More Than A Story, It Springs From Growth

Corzell Cole is working on his redemption story.

During the 17 years he’s been behind bars, Cole has actively tried to make positive change for his community, his family and himself.

“The reality is that I wake up in prison every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals,” he says.

Cole is a 36-year-old man with a gregarious demeanor and perfectly maintained hair that he learned to trim while working at his cousin’s barbershop in Joliet, Ill. In conversation, he’ll take any opportunity to bring up his kids — three sons who are 21, 20 and 17 years old.

“I’m parenting from the penitentiary,” says Cole. “My father wasn’t around when I was growing up, and I want to make sure that my sons won’t make the same mistakes I made.”

When Cole was 19, he was arrested on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges for his role as the driver in a shooting that killed a man and injured his teenage daughter.

Cole was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. He is contesting the conviction.