Female felons will take center stage tonight during a live performance at the Lawrence Arts Center.
The women, who have been released from prison on parole, will perform monologues as a part of the PEARL project - Performing to Empower Awareness and Reinvent Lives.
The project is intended to help inmates return to society by discussing the realities of being incarcerated and to imagine what life's like outside of prison.
"It empowers them to begin to share their lives and to think how it could be different, how it could be improved," said Carol Bradbury, a creative director of the project. "If you can't dream something, it can't come to be."
State officials hope the project will help the parolees find a way to express themselves and be successful when they're released from prison, so they won't join the 25.7 percent of women inmates who return to a life behind bars within three years of release, project organizers said.
"These ladies are human beings, have all the creativity, all the heart, to try to be healed from what they have done," said So Yeon Park, a creative director of the project.
The performance will be at 7 p.m. tonight in the Lawrence Arts Center's Anne Evans Gallery. Staff from the Kansas Department of Corrections will also host a panel discussion, along with the parolees.
An exhibit featuring video of 15 female inmates and parolees discussing their life stories debuted Monday at the center's Small Gallery. The film runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through Saturday.