Applied Theatre in Prisons
The pieces below have been written by two MA Applied Theatre students from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
A reflection of Applied Theatre in Prisons:
Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit HMP Channings Wood to help facilitate a Substance Misuse Workshop as a placement student with Unlock Drama. Throughout the sessions, I witnessed the benefits of Theatre in prisons – observing a confidence boost in many of the offenders, an increase in their communication skills and the development of an overall positive outlook – there was genuine hope for the future.
Participants were enthusiastic and open to discussing important issues affecting them and their cohort. I am privileged to have assisted in providing a safe platform through which offenders were able to express their thoughts about the prison system and their use of psychoactive substances. I was impressed by the depth of insight present and quality of the performance produced and could see that participants were happy to have the opportunity to voice these thoughts on a different platform.
Thank you to Unlock Drama for the invaluable experience.
My experience at HMP Channings Wood to deliver an Unlock Drama programme on substance abuse has come to an end, but its effects will stay with me for a long time to come.
I am incredibly honoured to have worked with participants who so generously and candidly shared their experiences of psychoactive substances in prison. The harrowing subject matter was something they brought great insight to and it was clear they want for their stories to be told and heard. As facilitators we work outside of the prison system and as creatives we offer new avenues for self-expression; a week with Unlock Drama for them meant a week to express things in ways that might not otherwise be safe for them. Devising a performance together was a privilege for me and a huge success! It prompted considerate discussion within the audience, it instilled new levels of self confidence in performers, and it opened avenues to imagine different possible futures for developing the show further, potentially as a prevention strategy.
I have witnessed the impact of drama in prison and it is powerful. Thank you Unlock Drama — I won’t soon forget the experience!