An anonymous donor at the Santa Barbara Foundation recently awarded Poetic Justice Project $10,000. And the Fund for Santa Barbara announced that PJP will receive a multi-year grant, totaling $30,000 over three years.

The only theatre company with formerly incarcerated actors in plays that examine crime, punishment and redemption, Poetic Justice Project is based in Santa Maria, but serves formerly incarcerated people and audiences on the Central Coast and beyond. More 100 formerly incarcerated people have participated in PJP activities, with 65 appearing onstage since the project began in January of 2009.

In addition to performances in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Guadalupe, Arroyo Grande, Shell Beach and San Luis Obispo, Poetic Justice Project productions have traveled to Alcatraz Island, the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, a homeless center in Oakland, a university in Belmont, a continuation school in Redding, and, in 2010, on a 10-city California Prison Town Tour.

Poetic Justice Project was founded by Deborah Tobola, who taught creative writing and produced theatre in state prisons for more than 12 years. She says, “We are extremely grateful to the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara for this critical support. This funding will help us with basic operating expenses as we move forward.”

PJP’s next production is IN THE KITCHEN WITH A KNIFE, an interactive murder mystery set In prison. It will be performed in October/November of this year. Poetic Justice Project is a program of the award-winning William James Association, which provides arts instruction to people on parole and probation, prisoners, and youth at risk of incarceration. For more information, visit or find Poetic Justice Project on Facebook.


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