Leah Joki, a Missoula-based actress and playwright, is raising money to bring her experiences teaching theater in California prisons to the stage in Los Angeles.
Joki, who has performed her one-woman show "Prison Boxing" multiple times in Missoula, is seeking $14,000 through Kickstarter for the production through Skylight Theater Company. The campaign, which had raised $7,300 as of earlier this week, must reach $12,200 by Sunday, Dec. 21.
She describes "Prison Boxing" as "an abstract non-linear impression of characters in and out of prison."
Joki also channeled her experiences in "Juilliard to Jail," a memoir of her 18-year career in prison. The graduate of the renowned program devoted the majority of her life to prison theater in California and became the only female artist facilitator in a men’s maximum-security prison.
Her arts program was profiled in the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine and the LA Weekly.
In her campaign page, she writes, "California is in a state of crisis. It incarcerates more people than any country in the world. The average Californian has no idea what is happening in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and how much it is costing the taxpayers."
She also notes that she is passionate about the rehabilitation of inmates, the importance of art in the prisoners' lives, and changing the societal imbalance in the prisons.
The Kickstarter funds will pay for travel, lodging for Joki and her director Linda Grinde. It will also pay for advertising and other expenses related to the six-week run in Los Angeles.
Skylight Theater Company produces new works and new works that are new to Los Angeles.