Arts in the Romanian Prison System

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The art was always an excellent means of expression the feelings, a precious instrument and in the same time an ally of the prison worker to support the people in custody to express their concerns and thoughts. The inmate’s involvement in artistic activities has, first of all, therapeutic effect, contributing in the same time to their personal development, by discovering new skills and competences, but also by using time in a useful and enjoyable manner.

For an ordinary person, a show means moments of joy, emotion and introspection and for an actor is the magic space where he/she can convey to the audience plenty of ideas and feelings. The inmate actor is the spectator of his/hers own role and of his own making, an individual like all individuals, who have the right to regain his dignity, by trading his blame to applause.

Celebrating this year its Vlll edition, the Romanian Multiart Festival for the Inmates – Dana Cenuşă – Unchaining by culture, bears symbolically, the name of its initiator and soul.
Each year, the prisons of the Romanian prison system collaborate with directors, actors or other representatives of the artistic environment and prepare plays to be performed locally. The Romanian educators collaborates with volunteers that, years after years, agreed to be involved in this event and prepared plays presented on the stage of the Bucharest Nottara Theatre.

Since its first edition up to the present, on the stage of the Bucharest Nottara Theatre were presented 53 performances, attended by 531 inmates, and 70 artists were involved in directing the plays.
At this year’s edition, signed up 7 shows, being involved about 56 inmates. Following the analysis of the quality of artistic performances, were selected to participate in the final phase, the following plays: Joker-Timisoara Prison, Selfie-Gherla Prison, Sector S – Galaţi Prison, Ten Little Niggers – Codlea Prison, Romulus the Great – Bucharest-Rahova Prison.

Starting with 2015, the Festival has been included as a separate section within the International Festival of Theatre Fest(in) on the Boulevard, organized by the Nottara Theatre, the actors performance and the quality of the five plays being rated by the speciality jury composed by: Mircea M. lonescu – playwright, Andreea Bârsan-theatre critic, Pompilius Onofrei – journalist, loana Mihaela Morar director,  Social Reintegration Directorate and Andreea Neagoe – specialist officer,  which decided to give the award for directing to Mrs. Andreea Iacob, for the Selfie show, performed by Gherla Prison and to Mr. Gabriel Cristea for Ten little niggers show, presented by the Codlea Prison. The award for the show was awarded to the Bucharest-Rahova Prison for the show Romulus the Great directed by Alan Gliţă and to the Codlea Prison for the play Ten little niggers, directed by Gabriel Costea.

In the framework of the Festival were awarded also the inmates of the Romanian prison system, winners of the national competition Creation and Penance 8th edition. The poetry section awarding ceremony has been chaired by the poet Dan Mircea Cipariu, with whom the Romanian National Administration of Penitentiaries collaborated ever since the first edition.