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 Theatre Company Artistic Director Vacancy

Kestrel Theatre Company is seeking a new Artistic Director, to replace the magnificent Arabella Warner, who is standing down after seven years of superb leadership of our projects. The post will start in June this year. The new appointee will lead the organisation’s development and deliver its mission of using arts in the criminal justice system to help change lives. We do this by bringing creative industry professionals and people in incarceration together to make great film and theatre that serves the whole community.

This role is suitable for someone with producing experience, a strong professional network in the arts industry and a clear commitment to working with and for marginalised communities. It is a part time and freelance position, with an initial fee of £10,000 over the next year.

For full job description and details of how to apply for this outstanding opportunity click here.

Bulb Sale 2020

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.

Signal Fires

Kestrel join a host of other companies to tell stories around the fire. More information here.

You can read more on the blog here.

A tribute to André Ptaszynski

Andre at fundraiser

André with his wife and fellow board member Judith, talking to Kestrel alumnus Nathanial at last year’s fundraiser at Regent’s Park.

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.

Flown in via The Kestrel Pub

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.

Rise and Bloom

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_

Puppet Stories in HMP Bullingdon 2020

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.

Drama Club in HMP Springhill 2020

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.

Rio’s Extraordinary Christmas

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.

You can read the testimonials from the actors, musicians and audience here, and find out more about this project here.