In November and December 2019, over the course of four weeks under the guidance of a professional theatre director, writer and actor from Kestrel Theatre, thirteen men from HMP Springhill devised and wrote the original pantomime Rio’s Extraordinary Christmas. The project was in collaboration with The Irene Taylor Trust who worked with four men to produce five original music tracks for the show, which were performed as a live band during performances.

All men were released from their normal duties for the length of the project but continued to be paid to work on the production.

The story follows Rio, the drummer boy who after burning the Christmas turkey is sent to get a new one by his Uncle B. After meeting Buddy the elf, he finds himself on a journey to extraordinary places, meeting extraordinary people, including Banta Claus the stand up comedian, Tiny the giant, The Dumpmaster and MC Snowman with the help of a whish whoosh, a magical transporter. Needless to say it all ends happily.

Rio’s Extraordinary Christmas was performed to audiences of over 300 staff, residents, family, friends and outside guests over five performances in HMP Springhill’s Association Room which had been transformed for the occasion into a magical space scape. The music was recorded on to CD for all the participants.

You can read the testimonials from the actors, musicians and audience here.