Dramatic Redemption: 'Shakespeare Behind Bars' An award-winning documentary follows prisoners at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky as they seek redemption and perhaps a greater purpose to their lives as they practice to perform Shakespeare's last play, The Tempest.
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Dramatic Redemption: 'Shakespeare Behind Bars'

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Dramatic Redemption: 'Shakespeare Behind Bars'

Dramatic Redemption: 'Shakespeare Behind Bars'

Dramatic Redemption: 'Shakespeare Behind Bars'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5673246/5673267" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Web Extra: Hear an Extended Interview with Inmate-Actor Hal Cobb (Speaking First) and Shakespeare Behind Bars Founder Curt Toftleland

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Inmate Hal Cobb closes a play with a speech in a scene from Shakespeare Behind Bars. Philomath Films hide caption

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Philomath Films

The plot of William Shakespeare's last play, The Tempest, has many similarities to life inside the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky.

In the play, hardened criminals find themselves trapped on a deserted island. They fight to survive, find meaning in their lives and look for forgiveness from the people they have wronged.

At the prison, actor and director Curt Toftleland has been using the words of the Bard to teach inmates about hope, redemption and maybe about themselves.

For a full year, documentary filmmakers followed the lives of Toftleland, inmate Hal Cobb and fellow convict thespians as they prepared to perform The Tempest.

Their odyssey is captured in Shakespeare Behind Bars, an award-winning documentary recently released on DVD.