Michelina Capato Sartore

The e.s.t.i.a. cooperative: a bridge between prison and "the outside"

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Inside/Outside Dynamics; Professional Training and Development; Theatre and Performing Arts; Empowerment; Concrete Skills and Qualifications; Employability.

The article describes the groundbreaking experience of the e.s.t.i.a. cooperative, founded in 2004 to work inside the Prison of Milano-Bollate. The cooperative, which aims at acting as a bridge between "the inside" and "the outside" by promoting programmes for the socio-professional reintegration of inmates, is mainly composed by prisoners, who are remunerated for their work. The two cornerstones of e.s.t.i.a.'s mission may be summed up as follows: on the one hand, to promote cultural and educational activities as ideal vehicles for the prisoners' selffulfilment, self-awareness and the development of a responsible attitude, based on a belief in the transformative potential of theatre's processes; on the other, to train and actively involve inmates in the organisation's professional activities, providing them with the necessary support to make choices which are concrete and focused work-wise. Activities range from the production of performances and workshops to stagecraft, carpentry and audiovisual post-production. Most significantly, thanks to a grant given by Cariplo banking Foundation in the context of a theatre residency programme, e.s.t.i.a. has been able to establish the Un-Stable Theatre inside the prison, where inmates and students from "the outside" are trained together, and performances take place.

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