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.



Kestrel returned to The Royal Court Theatre with a new cast from HMP
Springhill for a SOLD OUT run of seven shows in August and several
standing ovations. You can read some of the responses to the show

Thank you to the company and the incredible support from staff at the
Royal Court Theatre for an experience we will never forget.

More information about Broken Dreams

Thank you so much to Rosie Pearson and the wonderful team from on form sculpture exhibition at Asthall Manor for allowing us space in the pretty 12th century church of St Nicholas to raise awareness of what Kestrel does. Kestrel Alumni and Ambassador Nathanial Jacobs came to read poetry and explain how the projects he did with us helped him get work behind the scenes in the film and TV and film industry and as a professional actor.
Read Kestrel Graduate Nathanial Jacob’s review in Inside Times.
Click here to read the testimonials.



Congratulations to the men from HMP Springhill for winning a
Koestler Bronze award for their spoken word collection about
friendship, Shoulder to Shoulder. Well deserved.



In March and April puppeteer Marcus Clarke worked with men from HMP Grendon to record Story DVDs for their children. Thank you so much to the wonderful Button Moon Trust for making this possible. Read what the men said about the project here.


Wednesday 28 March saw the culmination of our spoken word workshops in HMP Springhill, with participating men reading short stories, and performing their set piece, Waiting (Waiting). They were joined by two Kestrel alumni, who performed their poems. You can listen to Ricardo’s poem written especially for the occasion here:


A World Without Charity

Simon Shepherd from The Butler Trust was also in the audience to present our Artistic Director Arabella Warner with her Butler Trust certificate. You can read about the event in our blog.

Staff/Prisoner Workshops
On Tuesday 30th January 2018, over 70 staff and inmates from HMP Springhill took part in drama games and improvisation workshops throughout the day. It was great fun working towards building better relationships. Hopefully we will be doing more soon.

Blooming Marvellous
On December 16th we had our annual Christmas bulb sale in aid of Kestrel. Thank you so much to Gina Cowen for her ever beautiful painted matchboxes and gorgeous jewellery, and to Emily Stewart from The HorseBox Coffee Company for her delicious coffee. We made a record amount this year so thank you so everyone who came. And thank you to everyone who has send us photos of their bulbs in bloom.

The Butler TrustOur Artistic Director Arabella Warner reached the final shortlist for the 2017-18 Butler Trust Awards.

“I am incredibly proud of the work we do at Kestrel, and to be shortlisted for this prestigious award is a wonderful recognition of all the people involved with this”, she said. The Butler Trust recognizes celebrates and disseminates outstanding work and best practice across UK prisons, probation and the youth service.


On Thursday 7th December 9 men from HMP Springhill performed their play BROKEN DREAMS – When Life Gives You a Fish on the stage of the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at The Royal Court Theatre in London, after previewing to staff and residents at HMP Springhill on 5 December. A play about social justice and loss many of the audience were moved to tears.


On Tuesday October 24th about 50 guests crammed into the Board Room at HMP Springhill for SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, a collection of performance poetry written by men from HMP Springhill on the theme of friendship over a period of 8 evening workshops. Read about it on our Blog page, and listen to some of the men performing their work here.


On Sunday June 11th we had the world premiere of The 360° Man, the latest film made by men from HMP Springhill. Read our blog about the event and the making of the film here…


On 8th February we held a wonderful fund raising comedy night, generously supported by Benugo, who provided the spectacular venue of The Regent’s Bar and Kitchen in Regent’s Park London, the delicious supper served by their warm and friendly staff, and many of the amazing raffle prizes. Over 160 people attended the evening of what was a great line up of young comic talent, corralled by the excellent Clive Anderson, with hilarious turns from Ivo Graham, Lolly Adefope and Liam Williams, all of whom demonstrated they are at the peak of their comedy game. We raised a little over £20,000, an amazing amount for a small charity and which will enable us to do more projects this year. So thank you to everyone who helped on the day and to all the guests who ventured out on a cold winter’s night to support Kestrel and the work it does. View the programme here.