Clan BreakTHEATRE AND PRISON
Week 7 MORNING
The session was run by Anna Herrmann from the Clan Break, is a company that works with woman offenders in prison and in the community by providing high-quality theatre-based courses, qualifications, training opportunities and specialist rehabilitation support they have produced ground-breaking and award-winning plays which dramatise women’s experience of, and relationship to, crime and punishment. It inspire playwrights around the complex theme of women and crime – enlightening and entertaining audiences
The company was started in 1979 by two famale prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience the company established theatre-based education and training programme enabling women offenders and those at risk of offending to develop personal, social, professional and creative skills leading to education and employment. The work for Clean Break is not only in prison but also in mental health, rehabilitation, creative writing. Their also have a touring company and student support services
Anna Herrmann’s session was set up in form of a workshop were we embodied the women, she used any exercise, where she asked us to write the auswers to the following questions :
- Rule that you have broken? Lying
- 2. Someone you love? My son
- Something that you love doing?. treaveling
- A place to go and feel safe? Prayer arae
- How we could feel if the mistake we did we were not allowed to see or have what we loved? “destroyed confused remorseful apologetic”.
The exercise felt so really that it made me relate to the woman in prison right away. She then gave us a script
SUMMARY of the story: Billy was a young woman who had just been released from prison and her return she struggles to find a place to live, as even her own mother doesn’t she is changed, Billy feels she needs to get her life right to be able to protect her younger sister Amber
- What is Billy leaving prison? with: Hope
- What problem will she face?: society discrimination
- Something that will help her move forward? Her baby sister
she aske us to create still images with the following. use a sound, a line and a breath.
And in my group we created “Society rejection”
With the execrcise we were able to explore our creativity and imagination and work collaboratively to develop our skills and build confidence.
She suggested that we need to concede the following while working in a prison set up:. Donot reveal personal issues, to keep active, include reflection and keep the purpose clear, be open minded, have a sense of fun and play, patience, being aware of people and respect, confidential space.
STOP AND………. LAUNCH
we were joined by the MP of East Ham, Steven Timms, Stratford/Newham Library team, students and other more. The launch was about connecting the students with a wider/broader understanding of how this project first evolved, originated and was realized and to start connecting students with decision/policymakers,
“Stop and project the objective is about engaging our students with the new Newham community. We really wanted to make sure we were extending into the community, meeting our neighbours, connecting with the lives and stories of those around us. Project initiated in pilot phase in May and June. We worked with level 4 and 5 students to start collecting some stories. We put out green turf, lawn chairs, balloons, basically a fly trap for children, offered coffee or tea to parents. They stopped. We put down our turf and lawnchairs at Stratford library. And as people came in asked them to share and students collected the stories. And students then created responses to these stories. Prototypes, interactive games, .
“Now we’re extending that project into the actual curriculum. Our level 5 students in the module applied performance have been working with Anada and Hannah in terms of creating a course curriculum that really integrates this into their learning.
“We staged a story collection event at Stratford library and have a website that audio material will be available on. Stopand.org.uk. we hope this project will go into three phases: stop and talk, collecting stories, stop and listen, engaging with those stories, through headphones, etc. then we collect responses and then stop and watch, actually using those material and curating them into an actual performance. Have invited MP Steven Timms in this phase to work with us. Is the concept of employment, which we’ve defined as labour? I hope that as we collect stories, themes will emerge and that the themes might affect Timms’ policymaking on some level.”
READING IN PREPARATION FOR THIS SESSION
McAvinchey, C. (2011) Theatre and Prison. Palgrave Macmillan.
Hermann, A. (2009) ‘The Mothership’ Sustainability and transformation in the work of Clean Break.
Balfour (2004) Theatre in Prison: theory and practice. Palgrave press.
Thompson, J. (ed.) (1998) Prison Theatre: Perspectives and Practices, London, Jessica Kingsley.
Assignment: précis of readings, journal/blog, research groups