CURT L. TOFTELAND is the founder of the internationally acclaimed Shakespeare Behind Bars program (www.shakespearebehindbars.org). During his 24 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 Luckett Correctional Complex, producing and directing 14 Shakespeare productions. The 2003 SBB/KY production of The Tempest was chronicled by Philomath Films producing an
award-winning 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 is a co-founder with filmmaker/director/producer Robby Henson and playwright Elizabeth
Orndorf of the Voices Inside - a 10-minute playwriting program at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, Kentucky. Now in its eighth year of funding by NEA, the program has generated inmate-authored plays that have gone on to be professionally produced at Theatrelab, an Off-Off-Broadway theatre, and the T-Shrieber Play Festival, both in New York City, and given readings at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. Participants in the Voices Inside program has garnered one publication, four Pen Literary Prison Writing Awards, and one participant’s play was a finalist in Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2015 National 10 Minute Playwriting Contest. The first collection of plays, I Come From: S Voice’s Inside Anthology, was published in 2017. Curt is an Associate Producer of I Come From: Imagination is Free, a documentary by filmmaker Robby Henson. The documentary features spoken word poets from prisons in Kentucky.
Curt created the Shakespeare Behind Bars/Michigan program at 2 Correctional Facilities in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. He currently facilitates an SBB circle in one prison. Curt is a much sought after speaker and workshop leader. He has visited 57 colleges across America and has done four TEDx Talks. He has delivered plenary and keynote addresses at
conferences across the United States, as well as in Stratford, Canada, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Kolkata, India, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Warsaw, Poland.
Curt is a published poet and essayist. Currently he is writing his own book, Behind the BardWire: Reflection, Responsibility, Redemption, & Forgiveness . . . The Transformative Power of
Art, Theatre, and Shakespeare.
Curt is the Executive Producer of Prospero’s Prison, a film by Tom Magill, an award-winning Northern Ireland filmmaker and founder of Educational Shakespeare Company. From 1989 to 2008, he was the Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. During his twenty year tenure, Curt produced fifty Shakespeare productions, directed twenty-five
Shakespeare productions, and acted in eight Shakespeare Productions.
As a professional director and an Equity actor, he has 200+ professional productions to his credit. Additionally, he has presented 400+ performances of his one man show Shakespeare’s Clownes: A Foole’s
Guide to Shakespeare. Curt is the recipient of numerous awards including: 2 Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowships, 2
Doctor of Humane Letters (Oakland University and Bellarmine University), a Creative Fellow at the University of Auckland, a fellow at the Petra Foundation, an Al Smith Fellowship in playwriting from the Kentucky Arts Council, the Sidney Burger Award from the Shakespeare
Theatre Association, the Fleur-de-lis Award from the Louisville Forum, the Mildred A. Dougherty Award for communication from the Greater Louisville English Council, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota, where he received his M.F.A. in