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.
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.
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.
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:
PICTURE A WORLD WITHOUT CHARITY PICTURE A WORLD WITHOUT CHARITY
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.
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.
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.
Our 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.