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Thousand Kites Theater

Sparking the Criminal Justice Dialogue

The Thousand Kites play is a collection of stories told directly by prisoners, their family members, corrections officers and community members. 

You can read the play as part of a spoken-word event with a group of your friends, in a community center, or even as a full production in a theater.

The play is written so that you can add your own story to it to connect with your local community. You can bring in local musicians or hip-hop artists to give it your own rhythm.  You don’t need theater experience to read or perform the Thousand Kites play. All you need is a group of people and a desire to hear and share stories.

The second act of the play is a dialogue. Use this opportunity to open up a conversation in your community about the criminal justice system.

thousandkitesmediaUnlike a lot of ‘activist theater,’ the Thousand Kites play doesn't seek to preach a message forcibly, or motivate the audience through anger and outrage; it encourages the whole community to reach out and reach in, to uplift and assist, and to move change with compassion. student, University of North Carolina-Asheville


Download a play:




The Thousand Kites Play- Community dialogue about the criminal justice system
pdf | doc  



Mil Cometas, version en español- Diálogo en la comunidad sobre el sistema de justicia criminal
pdf | doc



Voices from Otter Creek- Stories by incarcerated women




Listen to audio from the play:

Scoundrels Ball

Call My Name

Thousand Kites {mp3}1000kites{/mp3}

Useful tools to use with the play:

Listening Circle Guide doc  (Use this guide to help gather stories to make your own play or for StoryLine)

Sample Press Release doc    
Sample Program doc   
Sample flyer doc
Scoundrels Ball mp.3 (right click to download)
Call My Name mp.3 (right click to download)
Thousand Kites mp.3 (right click to download)
Buzzer Audio (right click to download)

Download the Facilitation Guide to host a reading in your community. Click on the image to download.

How others have used the Thousand Kites plays:

* In Virginia and Mississippi, community hip-hop artists worked with grassroots groups to do public performances at churches and criminal justice legislative rallies.

* University of North Carolina-Asheville did a full production of the play, along with community forums.

* A conference on restorative justice used the play to deepen their convening's conversation.tkarrowwaves

* Prison officials and a local artist produced a reading of the play in a prison.