San Quentin News article about TWP and Dads Back! Academy
Please note 2 corrections: 
--the photo at the top of the first page is incorrectly captioned; it's actually a shot of Marlene McCurtis and me with a Dads Back! Academy cohort
--“The Dads Back project mainly targets African American men, while The Francisco Homes project is multi-ethnic,” said Tanner was misquoted and should have read: “The Dads Back project included 4 African American men, while The Francisco Homes project was multi-ethnic,” said Tanner.

California Humanities post about TheatreWorkers Project, The Francisco Homes, and the Lifers project


TheatreWorkers Project has received a 2018-19 CAC Arts in Corrections contract to serve California State Prison, Lancaster.  More details to follow.

TWP artists Susie Tanner and Marlene McCurtis will travel to Valley State Prison in May to teach theatre and writing workshops to the Youthful Offenders Program

TheatreWorkers Project received a multi-year ACN contract from LAUSD to bring sociopolitically relevant plays to underserved middle and high schools 

TWP Director Susie Tanner received an Individual Artist Grant from the City of Pasadena and produced & directed a production of No Word in Guyanese for Me by Wendy Graf at ARC in Pasadena.

KPCC coverage of our Reentry Through the Arts grant project A Man Like Me

Formerly incarcerated fathers write and perform play about the justice system

The piece "A Man Like Me" was initially co-written by four formerly incarcerated fathers. Since the project's beginning, two of the men had to leave because they got jobs, and two actors took their place. "At the end, I want you to look at all four of us like we're the same," participant Derrick Hill said. CARLA JAVIER/KPCC


TheatreWorkers Project receives a CAC Artist in Schools Grant

Friends Outside in Los Angeles County in Partnership with TheatreWorkers Project Awarded California Arts Council $90,000

“Reentry through the Arts” Grant

State funds support arts programming for the formerly incarcerated through new grant program

PASADENA, CA– The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $90,000 to  Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) to support an expanded collaboration withTheatreWorkers Project (TWP) as part of its Reentry through the Arts pilot program.

Reentry through the Arts is a new, two-year pilot grant program rooted in the California Arts Council’s belief that the arts are a powerful vehicle for positive change. Grants will support arts programs for those who have been convicted of a criminal offense and have served time in correctional institutions. All projects feature the arts as a central component of a holistic and integrated approach to reentry, while also identifying other community-based support services, such as job skills training, job placement, mental health and wellness, drug treatment, and/or case management.

Support from the California Arts Council will enable FOLA to expand their collaboration with TheatreWorkers Project.  Led by Artistic Director Susan “Susie” Franklin Tanner,  TWP’s team of artists, including Jim Macdonald and Marlene McCurtis, will provide increased opportunities for the formerly incarcerated and those on work release to redefine their personal narratives through theatre. FOLA's Dads Back! Academy members' participation in improvisation, movement, and writing will culminate in the creation of performance pieces presented to peers, at-risk youth, families, and the public. The project will be documented on video.

FOLA is one of just 10 grantees chosen for this program. The news of FOLA’sgrant was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, which can be viewed online at

“Arts participation can be an effective vehicle for rehabilitation, healing, and skill building for formerly incarcerated people of all ages. Creativity and self-expression are the tools needed for these individuals to process their emotions and manage the transition back into civilian life. FOLA and TWP’s The collaborative program can hand them the keys to unlocking a positive future,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand the theatre program that we have been providing to Dads Back! since September, 2017.  This major grant will enable us to work more deeply with formerly incarcerated and work release particpants who wish to explore and share their artistry as they transition back into society. The CAC RTA pilot program is a much needed step towards building a more tolerant and healthy society where each human being, regardless of life circumstances can be honored for his/her creativity and humanity,” said Susie Tanner, Artistic Director of TheatreWorkers Project.

The Reentry through the Arts program was initiated in response to the California Senate Budget Act of 2016 that states, “The Arts Council shall develop a reentry or bridging program to facilitate and expand arts programs designed to help inmates transition from incarceration back into their communities and prevent those on probation, parole, or post-release community supervision from being incarcerated.” 

To view a complete listing of all Reentry through the Arts grantees, visit



LIFER: Life Stories from the Inside/Out

Supported by a California Humanities grant, TWP is partnering with The Francisco Homes to provide men who have been paroled after being sentenced to life an opportunity to tell their stories through theatre.


Supported by a CAC Artists Activating Communities grant, TWP Teaching Artists Susie Tanner, Jim Macdonald, Marlene McCurtis are partnering with Friends Outside in Los Angeles County to lead the formerly incarcerated and those on work release in Moving Forward: a workshop designed to give participants an opportunity to redefine their personal narratives through theatre, movement & writing


TheatreWorkers Project teaching artist teammates Jeanette Horn, Marlene McCurtis & Alicia O'Conner joined me to present a Theatre Intervention PD workshop for staff of Mt. St. Mary's nursing program. An inspiring 4 hours of creative work!

TheatreWorkers Project presented "Lake Titicaca" by Kitty Felde, directed by Susan Franklin Tanner and starring Tamika Katon-Donegal & Denah Angel. 

Sept 15, 16, 17 & 18, on a bill with 9 other 10 minute plays as part of week two of the international SHORT + SWEET Festival  First Time in North America!  

Set just after the 1992 LA unrest: Two drivers, a city on edge. Can a fender bender and a slip of the lip ignite the next uprising? 

SHORT + SWEET : The Biggest Little Festival in the World

Theatre Intervention Project, Phase One. So moved by my fellow teaching artists & the small group of brave women who participated!


TheatreWorkers Project has been awarded a $5,000 grant by California Humanities to create theatre with residents of The Francisco Homes (TFH). Located in south LA,  TFH serves men who have been paroled after being sentenced to serve life in prison.  The project will begin in June, 2017.


712 grants awarded for programs reaching students, veterans, artists, and underserved communities across California.  TheatreWorkers Project receives:

 Artists Activating Communities grant to work with former inmates in collaboration with Friends Outside in Los Angeles County

 Artists in Schools Student Engagement grant to work with Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), CHAMPS Charter HS, James Monroe HS & ICL Academy

TWP begins work with ICL Academy in September, 2016.  Read about the collaboration here

Professional Development provider grant to work with faculty and administrators at James Monroe HS

Click here to view the complete press release