Nick Fesette

Nick Fesette is a theatre maker and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. He has published articles on prison theatre, trauma theory, hunger strikes, and zombies. His dissertation, Cagecraft: Prison, Performance, and the Making of Carceral Subjects, studies modern and contemporary performances made with, by, and about incarcerated peoples. Website:


Auburn Prison and Carceral Modernity: A Performance History

Originally constructed in 1817, Auburn Correctional Facility in Upstate New York stands as the oldest continually functional maximum-security penitentiary in the United States.[1] I doubt that its designers would have predicted that 200 years later the US would come to incarcerate more people than any other country in history. We currently make up only 5% of the world’s population, but confine about 21% of its prisoners.