WESTBROOK (NEWS CENTER Maine)-- Ending the silence around youth mass incarceration. Performing to inspire progress. That's the goal of Maine Inside Out. They work in collaboration with kids at Long Creek Youth Development Center to create pieces of theater, that they perform within the center's walls.
Once released, those performers bring their stories home to a larger stage: their community.
"Particularly for folks that have been directly impacted by mass incarceration and people that have lived experience of incarceration- to have agency in making change, real change, in our state, around that," said Maine Inside Out Director Chiara Liberatore.
Performers drew connections between poverty, violence, and racism. They addressed instances where the criminal justice system can do more harm than good. Every piece is original to a performer; it's their own unspoken truth.
"It’s as brutal as I can get. I want people to really understand. The fear that we live in? It’s true, it’s real," said Maine Inside Out performer Abdul Ali.
Maine Inside Out’s work continues past the final curtain call. They say theater is merely a launchpad for statewide, institutional change.
"The young people who have made ‘Maine Inside Out’ what it is, are the leaders we’ve been waiting for. They have real ideas of how we can make change that would be effective, that would work, and we need to listen to them," Liberatore said.