Michael Rhynes is the co-creator and one of the founders of The Phoenix Players Theatre Group/PPTG. One of his beliefs is that deep space exploration and exploring the depths of our oceans are not the final frontiers. The inner depth of humanity is. Michael obtained his Associates degree in arts, humanities and social sciences, and at this very moment he is striving to obtain a bachelor’s degree. He did not learn how to write poetry at the finer universities, but he has published a chapbook of poems entitled Guerillas In the Mist. He did not learn acting on the grounds of any campus, but in the bowels of Auburn prison. He considers himself a homegrown poet, actor, and urban philosopher.
PPTG has its roots in the same fertile ground that the Harlem Renaissance sprung from. PPTG at its finest is the notion that incarcerated people can redeem and rehabilitate themselves if given the chance. The Phoenix Players Theatre Group by definition is an acting troupe. Our aim is not to create actors, but to engage in the activity of acting to reconnect us to our humanity.
**During the last week of August, 2015, Michael was transferred to Attica. Since the escape from Clinton over the summer, The Department of Corrections and Community Services has mandated that any incarcerated person who has served more that ten years in the same facility, be moved to another facility. Michael’s “relocation” is heartbreaking to PPTG. While at Auburn, Michael had completed his required GED, received his Associates Degree from the Cornell Prison Education Program, initiated a domestic violence program, and founded PPTG.