Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project
The Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project integrates the power of theatre arts and academic study into the national discourse on the death penalty. The Project offers actor Tim Robbins’ stage play of Dead Man Walking to schools, colleges, and universities. For the rights to produce the play, Robbins requires that at least two academic departments in the school incorporate the issue of the death penalty into their curriculum for at least a semester within that year. Curriculum and dialogue materials give youth a new way, not only to engage in serious study and dialogue on this issue, but to think about the role of art in examining issues that affect us. The Dead Man Walking Project and web site offers ideas and links to take action on the issue. The Project seeks to replace ignorance, apathy, and cynicism among young people regarding the death penalty with information, introspection, and inspiration. When Tim Robbins’s film Dead Man Walking hit theatres across the United States, it provoked discussion and debate about the death penalty. Robbins saw the potential to forge a partnership with educational institutions and young people to engage in serious study and reflection of the death penalty. Students have generated initiatives that allow discussion of the death penalty to go even beyond the campus community. A lively discourse has emerged on an issue that has been hidden from the eyes, minds, and hearts of most Americans.