Photo credit: Bobby Plasencia
LA PALOMA PRISONER PROJECT
(Multifaceted theatre and outreach)
Developed across four countries, for over a decade this project has taken the form of play presentations, panels, conferences, activist demonstrations, advocacy think tanks, workshops and community partnerships with orgs dedicated to serving impacted people. Almazan has facilitated arts programs in several facilities for over 15 years including: Rikers Island prison, Horizons and Crossroads Juvenile center. She is an essay contributor to Pen America’s 2022 publication, “The Sentences That Create Us”.
“My major inspiration for La Paloma comes from my experience as an arts facilitator to incarcerated women at two maximum security prisons in South Florida. This play fuses years of activism in the field and continued work with incarcerated youth in New York as well as the Chelsea detention center for women with Dream a Dream Project. Attendance in Bogota, Colombia at the Buen Pastor Prison for the Annual Celebration and Beauty Pageant. This piece is an offering of collective voices that illuminate the urgency towards ending mass incarceration.” – Raquel Almazan
Bogotá, Colombia (2010)
La Paloma Prisoner is a multi-disciplinary play about the reclamation of identity by women in the Colombian prison system. Based on the true story of a group of incarcerated women selected as beauty queen contestants at the Buen Pastor prison in Bogotá, this new play interweaves the ritualistic journey of a “parade of prisoners” within Colombia’s social, political, and spiritual history. The play centers on an infamous woman nicknamed “La Paloma” who transcendentally soars beyond physical and societal barriers to avenge the raped women of Bogotá. Her actions revolutionize the women’s lives, Bogotá’s prison society, and the world beyond its walls.
SELECT PROGRAM INITIATIVES:
La Paloma Prisoner Project – The People’s Forum Kick off Event
Brigitte Harris awarded the Impacted Women Ambassador Award with La Paloma Prisoner Project. Harris was featured as an honoree for her theatrical collaboration, consulting on the project and her longstanding advocacy committment to abused youth, incarcerated and formerly incarcerted communities.
November 20, 2019
Ascención: Directed by Estefanía Fadul
An evening highlighting the work of women artists of color devoted to advocating for and developing work around de-carceration, liberation, and reclamation.
Poetic Theater Productions, Judson Arts Wednesdays, and La Paloma Prisoner Project in association with La Lucha Arts collaborate with Liza Jessie Peterson, Marilyn Torres, Christina Dawkins(A4Abolitionist ), and Yadira De La Riva as our featured artists for Ascención: Celebrating the Movement Toward Liberation.
A collaborative piece by Valerie Seeley & Kevin Hays coordinated by Fury Young’s Die Jim Crow, and poetry by PEN America Prison Writer’s program poet Louise K. Waakaa’igan, read by Brigitte Harris and other alumni of Rehabilitation Through the Arts. The program will be hosted by Valeria Avina and featured music by Sharla L. “Sharlafunk” Patrick (Original P-Funk).
Raquel Almazan’s La Paloma Prisoner participated in Hi-ARTS’ Critical Breaks Residency with a FREE staged reading on May 23, 2017. Directed by Estefania Fadul. Panel Discussion Unlocking Female Incarceration: A Panel Discussion Part III followed directly after the reading.
Hi-ARTS is a leading institution within the urban arts movement — developing and producing new works of performance and visual art, providing a platform for artists, and creating educational and community programs that connect and expand the audiences for urban arts.
La Paloma Prisoner (Impacted women series)
LPP – IWS – funded by the Arthur J. Harris Award Arthur J. Harris Memorial Prize for Arts in Social Justice (through Columbia University) for development of La Paloma Prisoner and programming with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. The series combines women who have experienced the criminal justice system alongside performers to engage with audiences with the themes of mass incarceration. On June 1st 2017 excerpts of the play were performed at Greenhope Services for Women as well Queensboro Correctional Facility in New York City; in collaboration with impacted women. Co – produced with Mightee Shero Productions. These unique readings were directed by Laura Gomez (who is a recurring actress on Orange is the New Black).
Co-produced with Mightee Shero Productions.
On April 3, 2016 at Wild Project NYC the first installment of the reading series was staged.
Connecting the Dots: Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, Healing, and Advocacy Conference
Almazan participated as a panelist for the Mayors office (Department to Combat Domestic Violence) where she performed excerpts from La Paloma Prisoner and spoke to the process of working with survivors of domestic violence and being a survivor herself. In collaboration with Gibney Dance, Raquel also facilitated a break out session on the use of theatre, collage to create transformative solutions to domestic violence.
SERIAL KILLERS, SERIAL LOVERS
Publication of excerpts from the La Paloma Prisoner play, as well as scholar analysis and interview in Rome, with Alessandro Clericuzio in Performing Gender and Violence in National and Transnational Contexts; Edited by Maria Anita Stefanelli; by L.E.D. Edizioni universitarie di Letterature Economia Diritto, Milano.
“Still our shells will sing strongly”, says a Mayan teller in Café. And through Almazan’s plays, through her beautifully crafted scenes, her love stories that are moving in spite of the sad and violent backgrounds, through her undeniable mastery of dramatic language in all its aspects, made up of hetereglossic texts that prove culturally disturbing, these shells do speak to mesmerized readers and audiences.” Alessandro Clericuzio, essayist addressing Almazan’s Latin is America play cycle.
PURCHASE A COPY: HERE
La Paloma Prisoner (Colombia) is part of the LATIN IS AMERICA play cycle. This bi-lingual cycle of plays will include pieces in dedication to countries and dependencies in Latin America.
More about LA PALOMA PRISONER: HERE