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Combating youth incarceration through theater

Maine Inside Out premiered its latest original play "Exposed" that shares personal stories of Mainer's impacted by youth incarceration

PORTLAND, Maine — Emotions ran high on Wednesday, as more than 40 Mainers impacted by youth incarceration shared their experiences with the audience in Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine. 

The non-profit Maine Inside Out premiered its newest original play "Exposed" in Portland on Wednesday. The nonprofit hopes to spearhead change in Maine's criminal justice system, and end youth incarceration. The method this group takes is by sharing personal experiences on stage through theater. 

"That audience is hopefully going to be moved to go make change and be active around these issues," said the organizations' co-founder and co-director Chiara Liberatore. 

Maine Inside Out was founded in 2007 and has since worked with youth incarcerated at Long Creek Youth Development Center to heal and share stories. 

"It provides where we can be happy and excited about something even when we're locked behind a metal door," said Matthew Fortin, who was incarcerated for two years as a teenager. 

Fitting with the name 'Inside Out' the organization works with incarcerated youth, as well as those who have been released. Others who have been impacted by the criminal justice system, but have not spent time behind bars are also part of the organization. 

Maine Inside Out has community groups that meet regularly in Portland, Waterville, Lewiston and Biddeford. In Wednesday's performance, more than 20 from all four groups performed. 

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If you want to learn more about the work of Maine Inside Out, you can visit its website here.

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