The stories that we don't hear impact us as much as those that we do. We just don't realize that there's something missing. Under the leadership of director Lynden Harris the North Carolina based co-creative collective company, Hidden Voices, brings to light stories that we don't even realize we need to hear.
In this conversation Lynden and I talk about her book RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Life Stories from America's Death Row and the theatre project that grew from those stories. She talks about walking into a maximum security prison and what it was like to co-create this project with men on death row, to give voice to their stories.
We also talk about many of the other hidden stories that she and her company bring to our collective awareness. As importantly Lynden shares the process that she and her company use to find these stories that would otherwise go unheard.
Listening to Lynden made me challenge my assumptions about death row inmates in specific but other people as well. Lynden made me ask questions rather than make assumptions and that was amazing.
This conversation inspired me in so many ways and I think this taste of exploring some of the Hidden Voices of our world will leave you feeling the same.
For a written transcript of this episode click here.
Lynden Harris is the founder of Hidden Voices, a radically inclusive, participatory and co-creative collective committed to a more just and compassionate world. For 20 years, Lynden has collaborated with underrepresented communities to create award winning works, combining narrative performance mapping, music, digital media, and interactive exhibits.
A founding cultural agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture, Lynden is a Blade of Grass fellow, a recipient of the Ann Atwater Theatre Award, and the 2020, North Carolina Playwriting Fellow. She is the editor of RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Life Stories from America's Death Row.
Lynden's Action Steps:
1) If you have 10 minutes send a copy of RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW to your state representative, to a senator, a judge, faith leader, an educator, an attorney, because these men's stories can be used for everything from an organizing tool to conversation starters for book clubs.
2) If you have half an hour a month consider writing to a prisoner. You can do a google search for pen pal organizations. Lynden reminds us that you may literally be someone's only contact with the free world.
3) If you have more time consider sharing your talents and skills with a local facility. There was a study done that estimated that 75% of adult prisoners are illiterate, and 85% of juveniles. So if you have literacy skills that you can share, or cooking, or finance or art, and considering that most people living inside prisons have experienced great trauma in their lives, if you teach yoga, if you teach mindfulness, I've a restorative circle keeper, any of these sorts of things are offerings that a lot of institutions will allow.
Connect with Lynden:
Harmonica music courtesy of a friend