Lehigh students look to create virtual performance about mass incarceration

Written by on July 9, 2020

Lehigh students look to create virtual performance about mass incarceration

By K.C. Lopez

July 9, 2020

During a summer of protests and civil unrest, Bethlehem area college students are bringing issues and experiences within the prison system to the stage.

On-campus summer programs at Lehigh University are cancelled through the end of July, but students from the school’s 25 Mountaintop Summer Experience teams are continuing their work virtually and remotely. 

One of those teams is The Beyond Bars Project. They are presenting their research on mass incarceration through performance. Here’s team member Eliza Howard. 

“We’ve talked about recording the full – like on zoom, you can record the full live performance. And so then we can post those. So we’re trying to make it as accessible to as many people as possible through a variety of media.”

The students are creating a jukebox of virtual performances that are based on stories, interviews and research from within the Northampton County prison system. 

Aidan Galbraith is a Lehigh University fellow working on the project.

“We do have plans to get in contact with formerly incarcerated folks. Unfortunately, due to COVID, we can’t actually go into the prisons and be a part of those discussions with people who are currently incarcerated,” said Galbraith.

Students say they’ll share the final project online at the end of August and hope their performances will inspire audiences to get involved and make a change where they can. 

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