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Prison Theatre Practices and Perspectives

by James Thompson

Prison Theatre describes the rich variety of programmes of theatre with offenders.

Full Description:   

Prison Theatre describes the rich variety of programmes of theatre with offenders. This multi-disciplinary volume informs debates both in the criminal justice system and in discussion about the role and function of theatre. The contributors explore a wide range of topics within this diverse field, including:

  • working with women prisoners and with people with learning difficulties
  • dramatherapy with violent offenders
  • prison theatre work in Brazil
  • theatre work with young offenders
  • dramatic intervention in probation services and with ex-offenders.

    This is a stimulating and thought-provoking book which will provide valuable reading for practitioners, professionals and students across the fields of the arts therapies, criminology and criminal justice, psychology and performing arts.

    'Prison Theatre ... offers a variety of perspectives on a range of practical and theoretical approaches to the use of drama and theatre in prisons and probation. Although mostly about the criminal justice system in Britain the work undertaken in Brazilian prisons gives examples of working practices and a positive commitment to work in the arts in prisons that could be studied further in this country. Particularly interesting and useful are the four chapters which deal with the therapeutic and rehabilitative aspects of using drama and theatre in secure settings including the use of creative processes to examine the roots of offending behaviour and in building prisoners' confidence, self-esteem and communication skills. The practices described in this book challenge the 'deeply reactionary notion that punishment has any significant determining effect on crime' (p. 40). The preface to each section, by an American who is now serving a life sentence without the chance of parole, and the chapter by Joe White (an ex-offender, now a playwright and director) offer ample evidence of the powerful and positive effect of this kind of work. An over-arching focus within the whole publication is the overlap between work in drama and theatre and the links between therapy, education and rehabilitation. It is clear that a hybrid form of practice is being developed in this particular context which is worthy of further indepth study.'
    - Speech & Drama

    234mm x 156mm / 9.25in x 6in, 240pp


    Acknowledgements. Introduction James Thompson. Part One: Questioning the Practice. Preface Victor Hassine. 1. Theatre, Prisons and Citizenship: A South American Way Paul Heritage. 2. Resistence and Expression: Working with Women Prisoners and Drama Jenny Hughes. Part Two: Therapy and Rehabilitation. Preface Victor Hassine. 3. Treading on Tails: Telling all Stories Pauline Gladstone and Angus McLewin. 4. Holding On: Dramatherapy with Offenders Sally Stamp. 5. The House of the Four Rooms: Theatre, Violence and the Cycle of Change Alun Mountford and Mark Farrell. 6. Twisting Paradoxes Chris Johnston. Part Three: Working in the Institution. Preface Victor Hassine. 7. Creating Drama through Advanced Improvisation in Prisons Rob Clare. 8. `Silent Voices': Working with Black Male Inmates - A Perspective Martin Glynn. 9. The Prisoner's Voice Joe White. 10. Drama and the Institution Anne Peaker. 11. Shakespeare and Broadmoor: Timelessness Updated Murray Cox. Part Four: Evaluation and History. 12. Evaluating Theatre in Prisons and Probation Michael Balfour and Lindsey Poole. 13. Rebellion and Theatre in Brazilian Prisons: An Historical Footnote Paul Heritage. List of Useful Addresses. The Contributors. Indices.

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