About The Evolve Experience

Evolve explores the relationship between criminal justice and the communities they serve.

In the midst of profound conflict, The Evolve Experience challenges our biases and takes this charged, complex conversation to a level that generates compassion and empathy.

“In the law enforcement community, it is difficult to find training that invokes emotion and curious thought. While the conversation around bias continues, it is usually very shallow, scripted, and without passion... The Evolve Experience is far and above some of the best “training” I have ever attended.”

Terry Moss
Leadership Development Coordinator
OR Department Public Safety Standards and Training

“The combination of performance, discussion, and bridging understanding makes The Evolve Experience one of the best and most meaningful trainings I’ve participated in... I believe that the judges of Oregon will benefit from this unique educational opportunity which in turn will benefit every Oregonian we serve."

Adrienne Nelson
Associate Justice
Oregon Supreme Court

“One of the most powerful things about the project is its utter humanity. It is surprising, harrowing, and rich. It is social justice work, it is educational, and it is powerful theater. It gives hope. Not an easy hope, but a hope that takes courage and conviction to embrace.”

Maureen Porter
Managing Artistic Director
Third Rail Repertory Theatre

Problems Addressed by The Evolve Experience

The hyper-divisive public climate leading to breakdown in public conversation.

Conflicting agendas and cultural differences leading to a lack of trust between criminal justice institutions and community.

Increased harm and decreased public safety for vulnerable populations and law enforcement.

Our Solution

The Evolve Experience is a unique workshop designed for criminal justice professionals and community stakeholders that combines dramatic storytelling and audience engagement.

Theatre Component

The Evolve Experience is built first on theatre —- dramatically-crafted stories based on both the lived experiences of African Americans and police officers struggling to make sense of a system that may not be serving either the public or the officers themselves.

Audience Engagement

The theatrical portion of the program is followed by a curriculum designed to encourage participants to self-reflect and to listen to others who may have different or polarizing viewpoints. This increases capacity for the complex and nuanced thinking required to address critical social issues.

Impact of The Evolve Experience

By providing a framework to witness lived experiences and engage in open dialogue, The Evolve Experience enables participants to connect with their common humanity across difference, discover shared values, take on alternative views, see multiple truths and understand what it might feel like to be someone else.

The Evolve Experience takes charged, complex conversation to a level that generates compassion and empathy even in the face of profound disagreement, and stimulates conversation in a new way to help us bridge a seemingly intractable divide.

• Exposure to The Evolve Experience has a propensity to lower people’s defenses and allows them to engage each other in a deeper, more sympathetic way, which opens up more meaningful, solution-oriented discussion.

• Ultimately, The Evolve Experience seeks to transform human relations, and increase our collective capacity to productively address significant social issues.

Immediately following The Evolve Experience, participants report increased motivation to:

  • • Listen to people who have vastly different life experiences.
  • • Form new partnerships with groups or organizations with alternative POV’s.
  • • Consider an opposing idea, even while holding a strong point of view.
  • • Identify specific ideas, channels and activities to improve relationships between the criminal justice system and the community.

Branches of the criminal justice system that stand to benefit:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Judiciary
  • Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys
  • Corrections, Probation and Parole
  • And more
Red Door Project

Founded in 2011, The Red Door Project is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization on a mission to change racial ecology through the arts.

Through the Red Door, we use theater to address the conflict between the criminal justice system and communities of color. We produce theatrical productions and professional provider education, and provide services to criminal justice professionals and community-based organizations. Our work broadly benefits the general public and specifically people of color who are disproportionately impacted by the breakdown in relations between police and communities.

At the Red Door, we have one guiding principle: all systems do three things: they protect, expand and evolve. We bring a unique model to the issue of race through a systems approach that helps participants recognize when they are in protection/fear mode, and provides a framework to move beyond it; to thoughtfully consider root causes of problems, interconnections and needed changes in existing policies, laws and programs.

We believe that art is the transformational agent to help people move through their natural tendency to protect and begin to address the reforms needed in our criminal justice system.

  • • More than 30 years of leadership experience in theatre arts and facilitating conflict resolution
  • • More than $750K investment by Oregon foundations and donors
  • • 75 public performances, including facilitated conversations, of two productions dealing with racial profiling from both the community and police perspectives since 2016
  • • Creation and presentation of The Evolve Experience workshop specifically for criminal justice professionals
  • • Continuous evaluation and quality improvement
  • • Development of acting troupe utilizing a diverse group of actors of color.
  • • Commission of nationally-recognized writers from the world of television, film and stage
  • • Cultivation of partners from multiple sectors including extensive relationship-building with law enforcement
  • • Media campaign resulting in state and national recognition, diversified funding and sustainability
  • To learn more, visit RedDoorProject.org

"When we come to Evolve and we witness these stories on stage, we are seeing ourselves reflected. This show gives us a common ground to stand on. This process works. Over the past 3 years, we’ve honed The Evolve Experience into a powerful and proven product. A way to generate compassion and empathy, even in the midst of profound disagreement. Now, it’s time to take The Evolve Experience further. To bring this work to every city, community, law enforcement and criminal justice agency in America. And to do that, we need major support now. Your support. Please donate and let’s Evolve together. The Evolve Experience creates more equitably functioning local criminal justice ecosystems. You have the power to make this a reality."

Kevin Jones and Lesli Mones
Founders, The Red Door Project

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