Local Nonprofit Combines Advocacy and Theater with Youth

Rerouting the school-to-prison pipeline by giving middle schoolers the spotlight, creating their own advocacy production



WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a unique multi-stakeholder collaboration, DC middle-schoolers will premier a show at The National Theatre on April 21, 2022 starting at 7PM entitled Through Our Eyes. Formerly incarcerated entrepreneur, Devin Smith, and Ally Theatre Company’s criminal justice programming, Voices Unbarred, teamed up with The National Theatre Foundation, Georgetown University’s A.S.K., and The Social Justice School to make this show possible.


The performance represents the culmination of ANCRD Voices (pronounced “anchored voices”), a nine-week program that integrates community violence prevention and Theater of the Oppressed (TO) techniques to facilitate socio-emotional learning and advocacy training. In this program, students explored the visions they had for themselves and created advocacy pieces related to their perspectives on social justice issues.


Lori Pitts, new Artistic Director for Ally Theatre Company and founder of Voices Unbarred, shares that “we want to amplify the voices of people with lived experience who often go unheard. We’ve offered a platform for adults impacted by incarceration to speak their truths and advocate for change, and we are thrilled to launch our first program amplifying the voices of youth impacted by incarceration on these issues.”


On the heels of Voices Unbarred becoming Ally Theatre Company’s main programming, this is both organizations’ first program working with youth. Both Pitts and ANCRD Voices co-creator, Devin Smith, are alumni of DC government’s 202Creates Residency Program.


Tickets to this performance are free, but limited. You must register via Eventbrite.


A reception and talkback will follow the performance. Audience members must be vaccinated OR able to present a negative COVID test, and wear masks in order to attend.


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About Ally Theatre Company: Ally Theatre’s main programming, Voices Unbarred, centers the voices of people impacted by incarceration, and collaborates with theatre practitioners and policy organizations, to creatively reimagine the prison system and advocate for change. Through theatre and justice workshops, script writing, and interactive performances, participants affected by incarceration in the DC area are given a platform to share their stories, tackle complex issues, and lead the criminal justice reform movement. For more information visit https://www.allytheatrecompany.com/.

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