End of Isolation Tour

The End of Isolation Tour brings immersive, transformative theater to communities across the country on the front lines of imagining a world without prisons and the torture of solitary confinement.​

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The Story of the End of Isolation Tour and The BOX

Loneliness. Sensory Deprivation. Torture. Words on a page that are now being brought to life for live audiences to witness, by people who have lived through it. The End of Isolation Tour is a theatrical production touring the United States, using immersive theater to make an impact.

As a means to reach audiences to enact political change (legislative art) and to engage people to promote healing through drama and artistic ritual (therapeutic theater), the END OF ISOLATION Tour centers around the play, The BOX, which underscores both the horror of solitary confinement and the humanity of people subjected to it, employing stories inspired by true events to bring awareness to the state-sponsored atrocities occurring in correctional institutions across the country.

The BOX is written and directed by Sarah Shourd, who was held in solitary confinement for over 400 days as a political prisoner in Iran. After discovering the prevalence of solitary confinement in the United States, she collaborated with other survivors and together, they have brought this project to life.

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The Show

The BOX, an immersive theater experience written by a survivor of solitary confinement in collaboration with other survivors, is about collective resistance and personal transformation.
 
With a plot that illuminates the innate resilience of the human spirit, The BOX tracks its characters as they make their journeys against all odds: from racist to revolutionary, from tough guy to suicide victim, from guru/teacher to frightened, lost soul, and from father to friend.
 
By turns entertaining and unsettling, The BOX is a rare glimpse into the deep end of our prison system, the intimate bonds forged between modern-day heroes, the ripple effects of systematic torture, and what it means to be human.

Possible Destinations

Our tour bus hits the road in July and hopefully we’re coming to a location near you. The official tour stops haven’t been decided, but we’re hoping to hit most of the locations on the map below.

Making An Impact

The BOX has already changed lives and legislation. Performed at conferences, well-known theaters and in the former penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, the show has not only reached thousands of people, but also served as a powerful organizing tool for activists and politicians in California. Former California Senator Mark Leno affirmed that the the 2016 performances contributed to the passing of his bill ending the use of solitary in juvenile facilities throughout California.

This tour isn’t just about ending isolation. It’s about beginning transformation.

The BOX goes beyond traditional theater to impact communities and policy. The BOX and the tour amplifies local programs for collective healing and restorative justice. Each performance and each stop on the tour knits together advocacy groups, anti-solitary campaigns, legislators, educators, and people impacted by solitary and mass incarceration in healing circles, educational outreach and policy discussions to bring about a more just future.

As Jon Comstock from DeCarcerate Arkansas says “This tour will act like a booster-shot that will infuse the community with energy for action and help us to the finish line.”

To learn more about solitary confinement and it’s alternatives, visit Unlock The Box and Solitary Watch.

Get Involved

There are so many ways to be a part of the End of Isolation Tour and movement!

Join The Movement

Help us make an impact by signing up for our newsletter and sharing the word about the End of Isolation Tour.

Donate

We need your help to get on the road. We’ve already raised $300k and only need to raise $150k more. Any amount helps!

Buy Merch

Show your support and solidarity with ending isolation and beginning transformation. Rock our sweet EIT shirt.

Take Action

Your legislators need to hear from you to ensure that ending torture in our prisons is a top priority. Email and tweet your representatives in just a few clicks.

During his campaign, President Biden vowed he would end the barbaric practice of solitary confinement if he were elected president. So far, we’ve had no action. Tell Biden that it’s time to live up to his word.

NYC officials promised to end solitary confinement but their proposal is a sham and will violate state law, the HALT Solitary Act. Join us in holding NYC legislators accountable by calling out their fake ban.

What is Transformative Theater?

Transformative Theater is a broad term, generally applied to the use of plays and other theatrical experiences to address social justice challenges, using storytelling to bring awareness to or connection over a shared real world concern.

For us, transformative theater is rooted in healing and action. We use an immersive theater experience as a springboard to create impact. Each production ends with a survivor-led healing circle, using the experience of the show as a way to focus on collective healing and restorative justice. Transformative theater reaches out beyond the show itself- – we:

Ultimately, The End of Isolation Tour will create space for us all to envision a transformed correctional system- -one rooted in healing the wounds caused by the racially-biased, over-criminalized use of mass incarceration and solitary confinement in the United States.

What We Do

As a part of our tour, the team visits universities, community organizations, and advocacy groups with a curriculum designed to educate and empower changemakers around solitary

We create a unique, strength-based opportunity to connect communities, bringing together those who have been impacted by a brutal and outdated system to community and survivor-led support systems.

We bring policy makers to the table and sometimes bring the show to the policy makers, whether it’s rehearsals in front of the White House or panel discussions around specific legislation

Each performance ends with a survivor-led healing circle, using the experience of the show and artistic ritual to focus on collective healing and restorative justice.

Who we are

First and foremost, we are humans. Many of us are humans who have experienced incarceration and the horrors of solitary confinement first-hand.

Together, we’re a team of organizers committed to creating an impact through transformative theater- -and transformative justice. On the tour, we will travel, eat, work, and live together in a converted school bus for two months as we bring The BOX to communities across the US. This makes us more than a team. We are friends. We are a chosen family. Together, we are strengthening a movement.

Individually we are professionals: award-winning authors, interdisciplinary artists, activists, actors, educators, chefs, and storytellers.

Get to know us! Check out our bios and explore our personal websites.

National Partners

The End of Isolation Tour would not be possible without our Presenting Sponsor, The Pulitzer Center; our National Sponsor Unlock The Box, and our Organizational Ally, Solitary Watch.

Community Partners

We’re honored and excited to partner with anti-solitary advocacy organizations across the United States. Together, we’re creating a borderless community committed to:

What We Do

As a part of our tour, the team visits universities, community organizations, and advocacy groups with a curriculum designed to educate and empower changemakers around solitary

We create a unique, strength-based opportunity to connect communities, bringing together those who have been impacted by a brutal and outdated system to community and survivor-led support systems.

We bring policy makers to the table and sometimes bring the show to the policy makers, whether it’s rehearsals in front of the White House or panel discussions around specific legislation

Each performance ends with a survivor-led healing circle, using the experience of the show and artistic ritual to focus on collective healing and restorative justice.

Documentary

We’re going beyond the live experience of The End of Isolation Tour by creating a five-part documentary series about the tour. Documentarian Bobby Field is traveling with the cast and crew, gaining intimate insight into what it takes to create transformative theater.

Dedication

In memory of Kalief Browder, Evan Ebel, Dannie Martin, Brian Nelson, Herman Wallace and all the others we’ve lost to the horror of solitary confinement.

With gratitude toward the people who shared their stories with us from solitary confinement, hugely contributing to this project:

And the survivors on the outside, who will never forget those they had to leave behind:

And family members: