Theatre is a tool to free the imagination for people of all ages and backgrounds. It is especially vital for prisoners, confined in a closed environment with a severely limited range of experiences in their daily lives. Theatre touches parts of the heart and mind that need awakening if people are to expand their lives both within prison walls and when they get out. It is a key to change. Roger Graef – patron of Kestrel Theatre Company
Kestrel employs professionals to work creatively within the criminal justice system, facilitating original pieces of work, mostly theatre and film. By empowering offenders to express themselves in a non judgmental, collaborative and enabling environment, our aim is to help them develop greater self confidence, mutual respect, and resilience. And by realising their creative potential, help them produce work of the highest standard.
The original cast from Broken Dreams on the set at the Royal Court Theatre in December 2017.
Thank you to everyone who supported our annual Christmas bulb sale either by buying the pots or by donating. Henri and Caroline did us proud by hosting a bulb sale in their front garden in London, complete with carol singers – students from the Royal Academy, and together with our online sale in Oxford raised a little over £3,500. More funds means more projects with people with experience of the criminal justice system in 2021.
All of us involved in Kestrel were deeply saddened by the sudden death in July of our friend, supporter and long-standing adviser André Ptaszynski.
You can read our tribute to André here.
We have sending Playwriting and Drama Club resources to prisons around the country and were thrilled to receive some writing from a man in HMP Altcourse in Liverpool via The Kestrel pub (see picture). Thank you so much James for sending it on.
Some happy faces after we were thrilled to sponsor a delivery of brownies to HMP Springhill staff from the wonderful Rise and Bloom. You can find them on Instagram @rise_bloom_
We are thrilled that the Button Moon Trust have supported another series of puppet workshops from professional puppeteer Marcus Clarke (left) with dads from HMP Bullingdon. The results are made into DVDs which get sent home to their families.
Our weekly Drama Club has started again at HMP Springhill. We can’t wait to meet up again with some of the actors from our Christmas Panto, ‘Rio’s Extraordinary Christmas,’ as well as meet some new faces.
Our second collaboration with the wonderful Irene Taylor Trust, saw five performances of Rio’s Extraordinary Christmas, an original pantomime with a fabulous score written and performed by the men. You can listen to it here.
Thanks also to BACO mascots, miniature donkeys Mavis and Mabel who returned to lead families up to performances. Over 300 people attended.
The Kestrel team came a respectable 3rd in the 5-a-side tournament at Springhill. We joined two teams from Springhill plus teams from Aspire and RAW.
Read CLINKS new publication ‘Enhancing arts and culture in the criminal justice system’ outlining how important the arts are in prison is available to download here: https://www.artsincriminaljustice.org.uk/enhancing-arts-and-culture/.
Mention of Kestrel’s partnership with The Royal Court Theatre is on Page 19.
Working with playwright Simon Longman, six men from HMP Grendon wrote short plays. Collaborating with The Royal Court Theatre, these were performed as rehearsed readings to an audience of over 100 outside guests and residents on Friday 19th July in HMP Grendon.
Our first project in HMP Bullingdon saw us working again with professional puppeteer Marcus Clarke, to facilitate the production of six story videos for men’s families. This project was supported again by the wonderful Button Moon Trust. Also special thanks to librarians Alison and June for helping to make it all run so smoothly.
After a successful run of 10 Tuesday evening drama workshops led by two professional actors, in the spring of 2019, we extended The Drama Club by another 10 weeks. There were two well-attended sharings of the work for outside guests and residents. This project was kindly supported by Chiltern Railways.