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Thanks to the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara, the Poetic Justice Project will begin the fiscal year with increased funding. An anonymous donor at the Santa Barbara Foundation recently gave $10,000, in addition to the Fund for Santa Barbara’s $30,000 grant over the next three years.

As the only theater company with formerly incarcerated actors that examine crime, punishment and redemption, Poetic Justice Project is based in Santa Maria, but serves formerly incarcerated people and audiences on the Central Coast and beyond. More than 100 formerly incarcerated people have participated, with 65 appearing on stage since the project began in 2009.

In addition to performances on the Central Coast, the show has traveled to Alcatraz Island, the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, a homeless center in Oakland, a university in Belmont, a continuation school in Redding and has also toured 10 California prison towns.

Poetic Justice Project was founded by Deborah Tobola, who taught creative writing and produced theater in state prisons for more than 12 years.

“We are extremely grateful to the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara for this critical support. This funding will help us with basic operating expenses as we move forward,” Tabola said.

The next performance “In the Kitchen with a Knife,” an interactive murder mystery, is slated to be performed in October or November.

Poetic Justice Project is a program of the award-winning William James Association, which provides arts instruction to people on parole and probation, prisoners, and youth at risk of incarceration.

To learn more, visit poeticjusticeproject.org or find Poetic Justice Project on Facebook.

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