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Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

In Association with ShadowCatcher Entertainment

Presents the World Premiere of:


By Cori Thomas
Directed by Kent Gash

April 17-May 19, 2019 

Presented in Partnership with the Fortune Society

Lockdown tells the story of a writer who agrees to help a longtime inmate craft his parole statement. Their growing bond forms the heart of the play, an intimate and powerful look at the impact of long-term incarceration. Inspired by playwright Cori Thomas's work at San Quentin State Prison, LOCKDOWN explores the magical possibilities for transformation through human connection. 

We are working with the Fortune Society to host a series of post-show conversations after every performance.  We are designing this in-depth post-show series with The Fortune Society and their Advocacy Team, comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals who are in the process of learning to share their experiences and feelings regarding the trauma of their interactions with the criminal justice system. The group’s work is grounded in a belief that harnessing those experiences into powerful narratives can benefit these own personal reentry journey, and also influence policy changes on a national level.

Lockdown was commissioned by Rattlestick with support from The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference.


CORI THOMAS (Playwright) is the daughter of former Liberian Ambassador, David Thomas and Brazilian attorney, Zuleika Thomas. Her plays include When January Feels Like Summer (NYT Critics Pick), directed in NYC by Daniella Topol, produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre with P73, and then re-mounted with Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Women’s Project, with other productions at City Theatre (Pittsburgh) and Mosaic Theatre (DC).  Her other plays include: Pa’s Hat (Pillsbury House), Flight 109, My Secret Language of Wishes (Mixed Blood), and her work has been developed at Sundance, Goodman, Playwrights Horizons, Pillsbury House, Black Rep, New Black Theatre, among others.  She is a member of New Dramatists, and is a writer on an original series for and is currently writing a screenplay about Nelson Mandela for HBO Films.

KENT GASH (Director) directed the acclaimed World Premiere of Robert O’Hara’s’ Barbecue at the Public Theatre and he is co-author and director of Langston In Harlem (Four 2010 Audelco Awards including Best Musical.) New York: Miss Ever’s Boys (Premiere) for the Melting Pot Theatre Co., Call The Children Home (Premiere) for Primary Stages, Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday (MUFTI-York Theatre) and the Off-Broadway revival of Samm-Art William’s Home. Regional: The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre, August Wilson’s The Gem Of The Ocean at South Coast Rep (LA TIMES 10 Best Plays of 2017), Wig Out at Studio Theatre DC, and The Mountaintop at Trinity Rep. Future productions include The Winters Tale at Dallas Theatre Center. Former Associate Artistic Director: Alliance Theatre (2001-2009), Alabama Shakespeaere Festival (1999-2001)

Earlier Event: January 16