Theatre for Justice (T4J) is under the corporate umbrella of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc., a nonprofit legal reform organization that many know as THE LAW PROJECT. T4J was formed in 2013, but did not become operational for all practical purposes until Spring 2014. Dr. Stephen Rushing, T4J's initial Director, articulated the program's vision.
THE PROGRAM VISION
Dr. Stephen Rushing eloquently explained:
The freedoms lost as a result of judicial misconduct and other forms of injustice are the source material for Theatre for Justice. Recognizing the powers of all types of theatre to transcend as well as teach about anarchism in the art of law (something known to those like Agosto Boal and others), NJCDLP’s Theatre for Justice seeks to discover and reveal the truth about the shortcomings of our legal system and the negative impact it has on society and civilization. Serving the common good is our ultimate end.
Whether it is drama, comedy, tragedy, farce, or satire, the resolve is the same. Didactic in purpose, our goal is to promote an understanding of (legal and) judicial systems when they run amok, inconsistent with the canons of their Constitutions. In turn, we promote an understanding of those systems when they succeed.
(W)e invite collaborative endeavors to recreate older works and fashion new ones that advance a better understanding of our judicial system and how it functions and malfunctions.
So T4J is very much a teaching tool.
WHAT IS THEATRE FOR JUSTICE?
Theatre for Justice (T4J) is a nonprofit prisoner art promoter, stage play producer, and performing arts education program. T4J addresses social justice issues both onstage and off stage through expos. So T4J’s work is advocacy, but more to increase awareness of and sympathy for competing positions than indoctrinate audiences.
As an outlet for messages of THE LAW PROJECT and other advocates, T4J hardly strives to be neutral. But its proselytizing is limited to suggesting that Americans should embrace positive change. If one or more expo participants effectively suggest to audience members what that change should be, those advocates gain support. To T4J’s credit is an event riveted by the exchange of ideas.
T4J's Creative and Lead Administrative Team
Sarah Roche joined T4J as its Production Manager and graciously accepted the position of T4J Director from Dr. Stephen Rushing. Sarah is a phenomenal scientist and engineer. But her studies also included theatre at Indiana University with emphasis on Creative Writing. She produced, directed, built stages, and acted in theatre at Indiana University and on PBS local television in Gary, Indiana. She won awards for Best Technical Stage Design and Costume Design for The Oz; Special Effects, Prop Construction, Sound and Lighting for Aida; Makeup, Technical Editing, Stage Design, Costume Design for Dream Girls. She is an Honorary member of the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Society.
Sarah taught Creative Writing at Chicago’s Alternative Schools, 1987-1990, for displaced teens, effectively helping a quarter of the drop out population to receive their GEDs. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, WAIF 88.3 FM radio played a series of African Historical segments written by Sarah. During that time, Sarah also played in the first violin line-up with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.
Prior to her full time work as a good government and grassroots reform advocate beginning in 1998, Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal was a civil trial attorney. Today Zena pursues a new passion as Executive Director of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP), which sponsors T4J and a variety of efforts committed to good government in America.
Zena has authored multiple online and print articles on grassroots advocacy, First Amendment issues, democracy, and the administration of justice in America. Upon entering the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Indiana in 1977, Zena was a National Merit, Notre Dame, and Indiana State Scholar. She graduated from the university in 1981 with a dual major in English and Philosophy. She subsequently entered and graduated in 1984 from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, distinguished as an Earl Warren Scholar. A summer session of Zena’s legal education was completed at the Notre Dame Law Centre in London, England.
Willie L. Hampton has worked in law offices for personal injury, civil and criminal defense cases, State and Federal agencies for child support and U.S. disaster relief aide as well as aerospace contracts negotiations. He has an extensive sales background including real estate and automobile sales. Willie’s diverse career also includes acting and other entertainment industry ventures both in-front and behind camera.
Willie is a Howard University of Washington, D.C. graduate with a B.A. in Communications, Summa Cum Laude. He minored in Drama, Latin, and Economics. Willie received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin, Texas.
Dr. Andrew D. Jackson is a founding director of T4J's nonprofit corporate sponsor. He has a Master's in History and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in addition to his dual, Bachelor of Arts degrees, one in History with the other in Philosophy. Dr. Jackson has been involved in legal reform since 1997.
Prior to his work in legal reform, Dr. Jackson traveled to "far places", interviewing historical figures, doing research, consulting, and otherwise. After graduating law school, he practiced both civil and criminal law, served as a city Public Defender, and is no stranger to the many kinds of complaints emanating from the legal / judicial reform community.
Shirley Dawson had been enjoying retirement after decades of elementary school teaching when she became T4J’s Hair, Make-up, and Wardrobe Director. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Joseph Calumet College and a Master's in K-8 Education from Indiana University at Bloomington. Less formal, but impactful was Shirley's extensive exposure to fashion style and coordination. Her maternal grandmother was a professional seamstress who could construct complex female clothing, with or without a pattern. She supplemented Shirley’s high school training in sewing and helped Shirley become an impressive amateur seamstress.
Shirley’s mother worked for years in sales at exquisite clothing boutiques. She had an eye for color and style that Shirley clearly inherited. Shirley brings to T4J both discipline and sophistication garnered through graduate school, the teaching profession, and a life-time of exposure as well as personal commitment to impeccable hair and fashion sense.