Prisons and Young Offender Units

In workshops in YOI units and prisons we hope to help participants to affect social change and personal transformation through creative engagement.

At the beginning of 2019, we engaged with in #Woking who runs weekly drop in sessions for former prisoners. We worked with some of the women to create a performance piece for #InternationalWomensDay on March 8th. We wanted to give each participant the opportunity to tell her story as part of a project called 'All that Glitters is not Gold - but it's my time to shine - How do we know who we are?'  The show was remarkable and the reaction from the audience to the stories, incredible - please see comments on the pdf below.  

Our next involvement will be a short performance for New Beginnings Arts Awards day on September 10th at 18.30 at #TheLightBox in #Woking The theme of the piece is Journey Within - 5 words that best represent your journey or a journey you've taken. Several women will take part in the event. Stella Kanu, ( pic below ) Executive Director of LIFT will be Guest Speaker.

Professor Charlotte Scott ( head of Shakespeare at #Goldsmiths) and Mary Chater took a programme of #ACE funded work into #HMPStyal in #Cheshire in the late summer / early autumn that mirrored the type of work done that spring at the #Wokingwomen'ssupportcentre. 

#AMidsummerNightsDream Mashup was performed by women prisoners on Friday August 30th in the gym - the performers were resilient and tenacious in the face of a rowdy audience and Eddie Tarry, an officer joined in the show as a Fairy. We spent two weeks rehearsing and making the props and back drop - the play was set in Ancoats woods near #Manchester.

The feedback was universally positive -

 I loved doing the drama group and I feel loads more confident in myself. When I signed up for the drama group, I expected to just do the scenery and help with costumes as I’m quite arty. A couple of people couldn’t come so I found myself landing a couple of parts. I loved getting into character and playing the parts that I didn’t expect to. This was something I had never imagined myself doing. I really thought I couldn’t do it so it was amazing to find that I could. As a direct result of this, I am being considered for ROTLs ( Release on Temporary Licence ) when I become eligible. I also have an opportunity to train and gain employment on release. This is totally unexpected and something that I would have never got without being part of this group. It has opened doors for me that would never previously have been opened and given me the potential for a totally different future. Thank you both!

Prison staff Anastasia Selby and Eddie Tarry

On December 19th, 13 women from HMP Styal performed The Christmas Toy Story (The Nutcracker springs to mind ) for Family Day - they designed panto type props and one woman, a professional seamstress made fabulous Toy costumes from material she found in the prison. About 150 people watched the performance with the Toys singing and dancing with some of the younger children in the audience. The women created a wonderfully celebratory atmosphere and everyone had fun whether performing or participating in the audience.


 I think the women who have been involved have benefitted in many ways, inclusion, team building, self-confidence, resilience, we could go on and on. I also agree that there is an appetite for this type of intervention and hopefully we will see you again with a bigger spectacular.

I’ve noticed this morning a renewed confidence and a buzz among the women who took part. They have all been to see me at different times throughout the morning, all wanting to talk about the show and seek affirmation that they nailed it.

I’ve also been stopped a couple of times by women who attended family day asking how they get involved in such things in the future!!

Ana is absolutely delighted and has talked non-stop about it. She told me that a number of children had wanted to wear or play with the props.  A little boy had left wearing the robot costume absolutely thrilled!!

Click here for audience feedback for March 8th 2019 in Woking