"23/1," is the story of a man fighting for his sanity, survival and redemption in solitary confinement. "23/1" is written and performed by Shawn Whitsell. Named: Best Blend of Theatre and Activism in the Nashville Scene "Best Of" Issue 2019.
"Shawn Whitsell's "23/1" was a power packed, message bearing presentation. It was genius, the way he used minimalist staging, combined with music and video in strategic places to pack a lifetime of an inmate’s experiences within every movement and line." - Sherre Bishop
"WOW! I'll write more once I get over the experience of the performance tonight, and dry my eyes from my own human, communal, and familiar tears. Thank you Shawn Whitsell for allowing Nashville to be the first stop of the worldwide tour of 23/1." - Tea Maven
"Having a brother that is currently incarcerated and has been for the most of the last 10 years your play touched me last night! Very very amazing and soul touching!" - Chancey Coleman
"Shawn Whitsell your show broke us down! I wish I didn’t know first hand that your portrayal of 23/1 was spot on. I literally cried from start to finish. There’s no way anyone can walk out of that theater and not have compassion for everyone that has been through the prison system. Job well done my friend!" - Jamie O'Bryan Lutz
"I have to heavily encourage yall to see Shawn Whitsell's one-man 23/1. To give you an idea, its like Childish Gambino meets Donald Glover in prision! Youre gonna get some rapping, interpretative dancing, crying, high level acting, legit feelings, and some deep ish to think about!" - Ladaveon Igonash
"I was truly ignorant to how hard things are for someone just out of prison. How could I have been so blind that employers are going to be more guarded and apartment owners would be more secure with who they engage with? It was not a lesson I was expecting to learn but it was one I needed. Shawn Whitsell took forty minutes and changed me for a lifetime." - Theater Student, Middle Tennessee State University
Shawn Whitsell discusses his process of writing, directing and producing the critically acclaimed one-man-activist-play 23/1. Suggested audiences: College/University Departments (Theatre, Creative Writing/English, Sociology, Black Studies, Criminal Justice); Corporate Events; Social, Sororal, and Fraternal Organizations; Writing Groups; Non-Profit Groups, Social Justice Groups; General Theatre Audience
Shawn is a father, activist, poet and teaching artist. He is also an actor, playwright, director, producer and founder of the Destiny Theatre Experience. His one-man show "23/1" was named "Best Blend of Theater and Activism" by the Nashville Scene, for its message about solitary confinement and mass incarceration. When he isn't onstage, he visits schools and community spaces, teaching spoken word for Southern Word and drama for a number of arts institutions. He also serves as a volunteer for the School for Alternative Learning & Transformation (SALT) at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Shawn was a 2020 Nashville New Leaders Council fellow and is currently a member of the NLC board. He also serves on the boards of Street Theatre Company and Rooftop Nashville. He is a member of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board and the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Task Force for Nashville Organized For Action and Hope (NOAH).
Email us with your date preferences and budget, and we will contact you to discuss/confirm. Suggested fee is $250. We can work with budgets for HCBUs or programs with limited resources/special circumstances.
Email us with your date preferences and budget, and we will contact you to discuss/confirm. Suggested fee is $400/day plus travel expenses.
Email us and we will connect you with Shawn Whitsell to discuss arrangements/budget.