Actors to Perform Staged Reading of Stories from Arkansas Death Row Inmates

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College and Wheeling Jesuit University will host productions of On the Row, a staged reading of stories from Arkansas death row inmates, on Aug. 29 and 30.

The performance at Bethany College is scheduled for Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Wailes Theatre, located in Steinman Hall, and the performance at Wheeling Jesuit University is scheduled for Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Troy Theatre, located in Swint Hall.

The shows, featuring Bethany College alumni and students, are free and open to the public, with a $10 donation encouraged.

The Prison Story Project is a storytelling, creative writing project that benefits incarcerated women and men. Its goal is to enable those whose voices have been locked away to tell their stories, allowing communities to witness the humanity of the incarcerated through their own words.

From May through October of 2016, The Prison Story Project was granted unprecedented access to the men on Arkansas’ Death Row at Varner Prison. There were thirty-four men on the row at the time and eleven of those men chose to participate in the project. The inmates met with the volunteer team once a month to explore writing and storytelling concepts.

A staged reading of their work was developed and performed for the men on death row on October 8, 2016 and later that month for the public in Northwest Arkansas, where The Prison Story Project is headquartered.

The cast will include actor Ron Scott, of Wheeling, W.Va., ’74 Bethany College graduates David Jolliffe, of Fayetteville, Ark., and Gary Kappel, of Bethany, W.Va., and Bethany College students Kerry Kerr, of Lawrenceville, Ga., Mike Lyons, of Beaver, Pa., and Issac Flowers, of Levittown, Pa. David Jolliffe is Professor Emeritus, Brown Chair in English Literacy at the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Gary Kappel is Perry E. and Aleece C. Gresham Chair in Humanities at Bethany College.

About Bethany College

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.