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CHINA: Theatre therapy project helps rehabilitate inmates of Shanghai Qingpu Prison

Director and two inmates during rehearsal
"Wang Shengluo, director of the prison's dramatic therapy project, guides the performers of ISUN Performance and Art Group during rehearsal." Photo credit: Ti Gong / The Shine

"Recently, the original stage play "The Dreamland," created in Shanghai Qingpu Prison over five years, premiered inside the high walls.

It was adapted from the real stories of criminals, showing their psychological journey from being lost to repentance, from redemption to gratitude. It attracted hundreds of people to watch, including social workers and staff members of local judicial bureaus.

The event was not a shindig but an act in a dramatic therapy project for correcting prisoners' behavior and cognitive bias. It has also been introduced in many prisons in other countries, such as the United States and Britain. Some universities also have relevant courses for academic research.

Qingpu prison is the earliest prison in China to practice drama for rehabilitation, after it established the "ISUN Performance and Art Group" in 2011. More than 150 inmates from 76 countries have joined the group and participated in over 80 art productions, involving drama, dance and music."

To learn more about this program, read the full article by Tian Shengjie for SHINE, the largest English-language newspaper in East China.


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