Feedback About Our Work

The 360° Man – a film devised written and shot at HMP Springhill March 2017

The project was challenging, motivational, in depth, insightful, educational, encouraging, self esteem boosting, self worth developing, exciting, confidence improving, spirit raising, creativity developing, skillfully put together, run and delivered. We find we can do things we thought we were not capable of, we learned things about a world we did not know about while at the same time learning about ourselves.


Kestrel has provided moments of escapism from incarceration and helped us feel uplifted and empowered. In a little over 3 weeks we had to write a screenplay, and script, rehearse and film. We had worked with Kestrel before so we knew that the work ethic and determination would produce work to a very high standard.

We had really fun times, so many laughs. I’ve always done stuff on my own outside but this has taught me how nice it feels working as a team.


It got the best out of everyone. I’d always avoid having to stand up and do something in front of people, but doing improv everyone is in the same boat, we encourage each other, it’s given me confidence.


Watching the lads flourish together as a team has been a privilege. They drove it forward themselves and to have helped facilitate this has made me very proud.

Mike Vail, Prison officer

Blood and Water – October 2016

You have helped me step outside my comfort zone and given me confidence in myself. Working alongside a professional director has given me experience and insight into professional directing, better people skills and how to respect people in a professional environment. Thank you for picking me up and making me feel bigger than myself. I hope you continue changing people’s lives in the way you have changed mine.


Comments from the men about the project:

It is amazing what a group of men who are prisoners, who are constantly made to feel they are worthless, bad and a danger to the world, can achieve when dedicated professionals place their confidence and trust in them. …I’ve seen a dyslexic man excel at directing, and another organize rehearsals in his own time, supporting others to learn scripts and access their inner actor. I’ve seen a disparate group of men remove the mask and come together as a team, a family and work together to achieve a resounding success. Thank you for having faith in me personally and us collectively, in helping, encouraging, teaching and leading us to a once in a lifetime performance of our play at The Royal Court in London.


It has been the highlight of my prison sentence and I’ll remember it forever.


We have all changed through this unique experience. It gave me the chance to be me, not just a hardened criminal. I could show there is more to me than my past. A fantastic and captivating journey we will never forget.


I have been reflecting on the ways in which arts in prisons can have a positive impact. For the people who participate, it can develop confidence, self-esteem and nurture talents and interest. For the prison, it can contribute towards a positive culture where men engage with activities and make constructive use of their time. For the wider community, it can be a bridge developing better understanding and collaboration. All of these benefits were clear to see in the excellent play Blood and Water written, performed and co-directed by men from Springhill alongside Kestrel Theatre. I was delighted that the three performances were really well supported. The performance at Royal Court Theatre was a triumph, a day that will live long in my memory.

Jamie Bennett - Governor of HMP Grendon and Springhill

From The Royal Court audience:

Thank you and the Company for such a fine play and bringing out the talent and confidence of the cast. I was interested to hear comments that the actors felt the workshops and the play allowed them to be ‘real’ and released them from the pressures of being inmates/ being tough/wearing a mask…. They all said they had discovered abilities and skills they did not know they had!

Hilden Charitable Trust

Really outstanding. One of the benefits of theatre is surely to get the idea that behaviours are optional – you could behave like the brother or the loan shark or the godfather but behaviours need to be chosen with some care….

Really wonderful to have the Royal Court endorsing it.

Diana Parker

It was a wonderfully powerful performance, at times hilarious but also very moving, especially the Amazing Grace singing.

John Lister

Prison Education Trust

It really was superb. The standard of the writing and acting was absolutely first-class. You wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a professional production.

It was very heartening, too, to hear the cast members afterwards saying what a difference Kestrel had made to their lives in prison.

James Rampton

Other Projects

Skyfall – November 2015 HMP Springhill

I believe this has given me the confidence I never had before. I really enjoyed the acting part and felt amazing at the end of the show as did all the team. It was purely emotional and I have never felt like that before. As I am 49 years old it gave me a real sense of achievement and I now believe I can take what I have learned into the community upon my release.

Dave, actor

Living in an Enabling Environment – February 2016, a film made with young men in HMYOI Aylesbury

It’s given me more confidence, made me believe in myself. I never thought I could do it, but it turns out I can.

Archie - Writer and actor

Opportunity Knocks – a film made with residents – 2013, HMP Springhill

I would like to thank Kestrel for your work at HMP Grendon. The work the residents produced was compelling and imaginative. The who were involved have been very positive about their contribution and proud to be involved.

Jamie Bennett

Governor HMP Grendon and Springhill.