Alabama Shakespeare Festival opens 48th Season with “Pipeline”

ASF opens new season with "Pipeline"

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Shakespeare Festival kicks off its 48th season Thursday with a new show produced in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative.

“Pipeline” works to bring awareness and conversation about what’s known as the, “school to prison pipeline”. It’s a story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future without turning her back on the community that made him who he is, as it deals with family, class, race, and the state of American education.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the school-to-prison pipeline is “a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.”

Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerancemagazine suggests that “the school-to-prison pipeline starts (or is best avoided) in the classroom. When combined with zero-tolerance policies, a teacher’s decision to refer students for punishment can mean they are pushed out of the classroom and much more likely to be introduced to into the criminal justice system.”

Finally, the Alabama Department of Mental Health notes that “while it’s easy to think the pipeline only impacts certain students and their respective families, our whole society feels the consequences.”

Alabama Shakespeare Festival is partnering with Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to bring Pipeline to Montgomery. EJI challenges poverty and racial injustice, advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and creates hope for marginalized communities.

“It’s important that we develop partnerships and tell stories that resonate with Alabamians,” said ASF Artistic Director Rick Dildine.

The idea to partner with EJI on “Pipeline” grew from a conversation that Dildine had with EJI Director Bryan Stevenson about the intersections of arts and justice in our community.

“This play will spark conversations that everybody in our community should be having regarding the safety and security of our children and the sustainability of our society,” Dildine said.

“Pipeline” starts Thursday, Oct 17, on the Octagon stage. Tickets start at $29. To purchase, call 334.271.5353, visit the ASF Box Office (open Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.), or go online: ASF.net/pipeline.

Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.; matinees start at 2 p.m.

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