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Press & Awards

The Denver Gazette

In a prison, live theater lights up the dark | John Moore


"...Breeden condemns Johnson’s crimes but not the man, which is just some of the difficult terrain “If Light Closed its Eyes” tackles through words, art, live music, movement and dance for a once-in-a-lifetime immersive theater experience that rattled the capacity audience to its core like the shaken bars of a prison cage."

“we are changing the system … one theater show at a time.”

She hadn't seen her dad at Christmas in about 10 years. A prison musical changed that | Kait Hanson

"He slowly started getting more pride in what they were doing and he was super excited about it," she says. "It takes a lot to get people excited in there, so I knew I couldn't miss it."

"I was expecting to be taken out of gym, because it’s a prison, but the play ended, they all went and changed and they brought a bunch of chairs out," she says. "Some of the guys still had glitter on their face and everyone was sitting around with their families. They were all just so happy and everyone’s families were so happy. It felt like the real world for once."


Colorado Times Recorder

A Push to Change Colorado’s Prison Culture and Perceptions — One Art Piece at a Time | Moe Clark


“Walking in tonight and I see David Coleman, the gentleman right there in the black shirt, who embraced me and welcomed me at Shadow Mountain Correctional Facility back in 1989,” he said, pointing to a man in the crowd. “I feel like crying right now seeing him out in the world.”

“When programs like DU PAI comes through … there is an increase in hope,” he told the crowd. “It gives such vitality to a guy’s spirit to know that someone cares, that somebody wants to see what he has. Somebody wants to witness his voice, whether it’s art or music or theater.”

5280 Denver's Mile High Magazine

Incarcerated Women Star in the Newman Center’s Most Anticipated Holiday Performance, A Christmas Carol | Madi Skahill

Denise Presson and nearly 40 of her fellow inmates sang Christmas carols for most of the bus ride from the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility to the University of Denver’s Newman Center. It was the first time she had been in a vehicle, let alone seen outside prison walls, in six years. For many of the others around her, it had been much longer. They were being bussed in full restraints, but Presson overheard someone pondering out loud: “When’s the first time you ever thought that handcuffs would make you feel empowered?”

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