Tom Magill, artistic director with ESC (Educational Shakespeare Company) of Belfast, Northern Ireland, will present “From Felon to Filmmaker—using the arts as a transformational tool in Northern Ireland” on Monday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. at Hope College in the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

He will discuss how the arts can be used as a means for justice and reconciliation through giving marginalized people a voice to express their anger and their suffering at the hands of injustice.  A question-and-answer session will follow.

ESC is an award-winning arts education charity specializing in drama and film working with people experiencing extreme marginalization within society.  ESC has worked with prisoners, ex-prisoners, youth at risk, community and forensic mental health patients, survivors of trauma, prison officers’ widows, medically retired prison officers, young homeless people and young people suffering from cancer.

Magill, who co-founded ESC in 1999, is an ex-prisoner who transformed his life through arts education while in prison for violence.  While incarcerated, he met his enemy, an Irish Republic Army (IRA) volunteer, and his enemy became his teacher, advising him to educate himself and not waste his life in prison.

Magill is today an award-winning filmmaker, drama facilitator, actor, writer, director and producer. He specializes in theatre of the oppressed and Shakespeare using theatre methods for transformation in community and prison settings.  He has presented his film work in Ireland, Britain, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Israel, the United States, Canada, Nigeria and South Korea.

He previously spoke at Hope on Nov. 13, 2013, following a screening of his award-winning film “Mickey B,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” performed by serving prisoners from Maghaberry maximum-security prison in Northern Ireland.

Hope students have an opportunity to interact with Magill and visit ESC in Northern Ireland through the college’s “Celtic May Term: Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and Scotland.”  As part of the four-week course, students meet with ex-prisoners and former paramilitaries from both the Nationalist and Unionist communities in the Northern Ireland conflicts.  Magill previously spoke on campus on Nov. 13, 2013, following a screening of “Mickey B,” also at the Knickerbocker Theatre.

Magill’s presentation is co-sponsored by multiple Hope offices, and programs, including the dean for the arts and humanities, the dean for the natural and applied sciences, the dean for the social sciences, the dean for international and multicultural education, the Peace and Justice Studies Minor, Global Learning, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the departments of Communication, Psychology, Sociology and Theatre.  His visits 2013 and 2016 visits to Holland have been organized by Holland resident and award-winning prison arts practitioner Curt L. Tofteland, founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars (, who met him at a 2012 international conference in the Netherlands, where they were both keynote speakers and each screened their award-winning films.

More about ESC, Magill and “Mickey B” is available online at

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues.