About the Grant

$35,000 to support Bogotá Prison Pageant (MAP 2013)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for The Civilians

About the Project

The Civilians, in association with the Goodman Theatre, is developing an original play with music inspired by the real life annual beauty pageant in El Buen Pastor women’s prison, the national women’s prison in Bogotá, Colombia. The pageant, “El Reinado de La Simpatia,” is a two-day affair with elements of carnaval—floats, dance teams, fantasy gowns—as well as typical beauty pageant contests. Each cellblock enters two women, a queen and a queen mother, to compete. The prison’s atrium, where the pageant occurs, takes on the spirit of a soccer arena with each cellblock fiercely cheering on its contestants.

In September, 2011, a team of Colombian artists led by Civilians’ Artistic Director Steven Cosson spent four weeks onsite in the prison conducting research and interviews with the participating and non-participating inmates, guards, prison staff, judges, and various professionals who come into the prison to coach the contestants. This material is being used to shape a new play with music written by Obie Award-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter José Rivera, with music by Hector Buitrago of Latin Grammy Award-winning rock band Aterciopelados.

Related Websites

The Civilians


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