Ashley Lauren Hamilton

Assistant Professor

What I do

Dr. Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Denver also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI).

Specialization(s)

Prison Theatre, Theatre for Social Change, Devising Theatre, Applied Theatre, Community Based Theatre

Professional Biography

Ashley Hamilton, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Theater at the University of Denver and is also Co-Founder and Executive Director of the DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI). Ashley's work is vast, ranging from teaching full time, creating theatre, performance and artistic experiences in prisons and directing and devising university and professional work in Colorado and New York. She has been working within the United States’ correctional system for almost a decade as an educator and artist and has taught and created various educational and artistic projects in over two dozen prisons in the United States. Hamilton has taught for four different prison education programs, developing and leading various courses in associate and bachelor degree programs inside prisons. She also co-founded and ran a theatre company for men and women coming home from prison in New York City called ReEmergent Theatre. Hamilton co-founded DU PAI in 2017, a robust program that brings arts-based, educational and therapeutic programming into ten prisons in Colorado serving thousands of incarcerated people and their family members. On behalf of DU PAI, Hamilton secured an unprecedented three-year contract with the Colorado Department of Corrections to bring arts-based, educational programming into every prison in the state of Colorado over the next few years. Through DU PAI, she has also created and overseen several exciting, innovative projects for the Colorado Department of Corrections including a podcast hosted and produced by incarcerated people in Colorado called With(in), a prison theatre tour and more. Hamilton’s arts-based research and scholarship focuses on the complexities of teaching and creating art and educational experiences in prisons, and how this practice can be used as a resource for authentic dialogue, affectual experience, transformation and cultural shift. She has a PhD in Applied/Educational Theatre from New York University where she focused on theatre for social change and produced her seminal work Towards Rehabilitation: Devised Theatre as Liminal Transformer in a Women’s Maximum Security Prison. Hamilton employs innovative arts-based methods from a critical criminological lens. Further, Hamilton has special expertise in sharing the results of her work with the community and with the public through the arts to generate conversation and social change.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Educational and Applied Theatre, New York University, 2017
  • MA, Applied and Educational Theatre, New York University, 2013
  • BFA, Performance, The University of Colorado at Boulder, 2010

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Drama Therapy Certification (RDT)

Research

Ashley's research focuses on the complexities of teaching and creating theatre and arts practices in prisons and how this practice can be used as a resource for authentic dialogue, affectual experience, transformation and lasting rehabilitation.

Key Projects

  • DU Prison Arts Initiative Contract

Performances

Hamilton, A. L. (2019). One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. DU Prison Arts Initiative . DU Prison Arts Initiative , Sterling and Denver, CO.
Hamilton, A. (2018). Tick, Tick Boom!. DU Theatre Students. DU Department of Theatre, Denver.