Curt Tofteland


Curt L. Tofteland is the founder of the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB) program. During his 18 years of work with Shakespeare in corrections, he has created many innovative programs.

From 1995 _ 2008, he facilitated the SBB/KY program at the Luther Lucket Correctional Complex, producing and directing 14 Shakespeare Productions.

The 2003 SBB/KY production of The Tempest was chronicled by Philomath Films producing a documentary that premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and has screened at 40+ film festivals around the world winning a total of 11 film awards.

Curt has worked in the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women _ where he taught college theatre classes for the Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) and created a Ten Minute Playwriting Program. Additionaly, he worked at the Kentucky State Reformatory _ where he taught JCTC theatre classes.

In the summer of 2010, Curt partnered with filmmaker/director/producer Robby Henson and playwright Elizabeth Orndorf to create Voices Inside/Out _ a 10-minute playwriting program at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, Kentucky. The program has generated inmate authored plays that have been professionally produced at Theatrelab, an Off-Off-Broadway theatre in New York City.

On February 12, 2011, Curt created the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.

In November of 2012, Curt launched the Shakespeare Behind Bars co-gender juvenile program at the Ottawa County Detention Center and the Ottawa Count Juvenile Justice Institute.

Curt is a published poet and essayist. Currently he is writing his own book, Behind the Bard-Wire: Reflection, Responsibility, Redemption, & Forgiveness ƒ The Transformative Power of Art, Theatre, and Shakespeare.

Curt is the recipient of two distinctive fellowships, from the Fulbright Foundation and the Petra Foundation, for his work with Shakespeare in corrections. CurtÍs 2011 Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship took him to Australia where he brought SBB to the Borallon Corectional Centre in the Queensland. For his invvovative theatre work with Shakespeare for underserved populations, Curt received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Bellarmine University.

Curt has delivered two TED Talks. In 2012, at the TEDx Macatawa in Holland, Michigan, where the subject of his talk was mercy and in the 2010, at the TEDx East in New York City where the subject of his talk was shame.