Unlock Drama has over nine years’ experience in the criminal justice system, delivering in over 30 prisons, across adult male, female, sex offender and young offender institutions.
Unlock Drama’s issue-based theatre projects are linked closely to rehabilitation in the criminal justice system and focus on addressing dominant concerns within the prison estate. These issue-based projects are tailor-made to address subjects including:
Using drama to tackle these issues can highlight the potential consequences of them, encouraging participants to examine the ripple effect of their actions and who can be affected by them. This can increase self-awareness, encouraging participants to reflect and develop their empathy skills, as well as to re-evaluate their behaviour, choices and consequences of actions.
Unlock Drama also offers a Restoring Family Ties project aimed at serving prisoners who are fathers or grandfathers. This project facilitates participants creating a child centred play for their families and children. At the end of the rehearsal period they perform the play for their families and children. This final product allows the fathers/grandfathers to give a positive experience to their families showing themselves in a new and creative light.
Unlock Drama delivers projects within the community with participants that have lived or at risk of offending/re-offending. Unlock Drama also facilitates projects with participants with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The projects aim to encourage participation, increase confidence, self-esteem, improve interpersonal skills and explore issue-based subjects to raise awareness with participants, targeted audiences and wider community.
Unlock Drama is always looking to deliver work within the community with hard-to-reach and marginalised groups; however, funding has always been an issue. Since becoming a Community Interest Company in 2020, Unlock Drama will certainly be looking at more ways to access funding enabling theatre to be delivered in the community.
Unlock Drama ran weekly drama drop in sessions for residents at Milton Keynes YMCA. Anyone could attend and we used to get a lovely mix of diverse participants ranging in ages from 18 all the way up to 60! Each week would have a different focus encouraging increasing confidence, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.
Unlock Drama delivered an issue-based project exploring the detrimental outcomes of substance misuse with a group of young people with lived experience of substance misuse. The final performance was written and developed by the participants guided by Unlock Drama facilitators.
The performance was raw, hard-hitting and emotive. Their final product included music and was shown to two separate audiences, one targeted and one to working professionals from the local community. We hope to partner with Recharge Telford again.
Unlock Drama ran weekly drop-in sessions for residents with social, emotional and mental health issues as well as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Due to the complex needs of the participants, some of whom were nonverbal, Unlock Drama facilitators ran sensory workshops exploring: smells, textures, imagination, sounds, movement etc.
Each week would centre around a specific theme such as: seaside, nature and transport. Participants showed improved confidence, communication, engagement and focus. It was a pleasure to see the participants grow.
Unlock Drama have an established partnership with The Royal Central Speech of Drama and host BA DATE (Drama, Applied Theatre and Education) professional placement students and MA Applied Theatre students.
Rebecca Boden has hosted placement students since 2012. Unlock Drama always works hard to take on as many placement students as possible giving them access to hands-on experience by offering on-site theatre in prison co-facilitation opportunities. Students find our placements invaluable and very rewarding.
In 2019 Unlock Drama began a partnership with Unlocked Graduates hosting training Prison Officers. We have found this collaboration beneficial to Unlock Drama staff, participants and the Prison Officers themselves.
Rebecca Boden delivers yearly lectures at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) to their Applied Theatre students and Loughborough University for the Theatre in Education students. Rebecca is alumni from both universities and enjoys going back and sharing her knowledge to benefit student’s progression within the field of Applied Theatre.
During COVID-19 lockdown Rebecca has delivered zoom lectures to students at RCSSD.
Rebecca has also been a visiting lecturer for Applied Theatre students at Leeds University and is always looking for new Universities to connect with.