Navigating Reentry and Overcoming Domestic Violence Through Performance

The women of Rising Voices debuted their original performance piece, Deception of the Heart, last month during the First Annual Community Works Youth Theater Festival in San Francisco. The piece focuses on experiences of domestic violence, survival, and healing.

Deception of the Heart is an original piece created by the women in the Rising Voices program, who channeled their own lived experiences to create a powerful collaborative story. The piece uses poetry, theatre and dance to address the many sides of domestic violence. Through their performance, the artists hope to inform others about the warning signs of unhealthy relationships, how easily one can become trapped in a cycle of violence, and the strength required to achieve healing. Afterward, the audience is asked to participate in a facilitated dialogue around their own experiences with domestic violence, and how to support friends or loved ones who may be in a violent relationship.

Rising Voices is Community Works’ arts program for young women, ages 18-25, at various stages of reentry post-incarceration. The program includes weekly support meetings, where participants hold restorative justice circles, learn mindfulness techniques, and find healing through art. Over the course of the program, the women in the group are led through writing and performance exercises and work together on a collaborative performance project, drawing from their own experiences. Rising Voices also works with women inside the SF County Jail, and the material generated in those workshops is incorporated into the performances and other projects. Upon release, these contributors are encouraged to join the support circles with their fellow artists on the outside.

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