Rhodessa Jones, one of the leaders of the “arts as social activism” movement, will perform her new solo piece “The Resurrection of SHE” at San Francisco’s Brava for Women in the Arts from March 28 through April 7. In this multidisciplinary, interactive performance, Jones will reflect on her decades-long artistic career.
Jones, the co-artistic director of Cultural Odyssey, is known for using improvisational theater to transform the lives of incarcerated women and ex-offenders. Her critically-acclaimed solo piece, “Big-Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women” was based on the lives of the women she met when she was hired to teach aerobics at the San Francisco city jail. While she was creating that work, she realized that many female inmates kept returning to jail because they suffered from deep guilt, depression, and self-loathing.
Jones founded The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women to explore whether an arts-based approach could reduce the numbers of women returning to jail. Jones has since worked with over 300 incarcerated women, and she has found that the process of developing and staging dramatic works based on their own stories can help the women tap into their creativity, confront the problems that landed them in prison, and take control of their lives.
At the center of “The Resurrection of SHE” will be the ongoing work that Jones conducts with disenfranchised populations around the world, including her most recent work with female inmates at the Naturena Women’s Correctional Center in Johannesburg, South Africa and her work with HIV positive women in San Francisco.
Close to seven years of residency and performance activity in South Africa and America has been captured in photographs, videos, and audio recordings that will be featured in the performance. “The Resurrection of SHE” will offer a passageway into lives normally hidden from and forgotten by society – a revelatory journey of redemption and hope.
Jones is collaborating with visual artist/lighting designer Stephanie Johnson; set designer, Pam Peniston; musician/composer Idris Ackamoor; and sound designer David Molina to create this work which will incorporate the arts of docu-memoire, multi-media installation, and musical theater performance..
Rhodessa Jones in “The Resurrection of SHE“
Brava for Women in the Arts
2781 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
March 28 through April 7 – Thurs – Sat at 8, Sundays at 3
Buy Tickets: $20-30; Gala Performance March 30: $40 – $50