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.


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.

Jack: A Lad In The Beanstalk – December 2018

Senior Officer Jo Major tending to BACO mascots Mavis and Mabel. The miniature donkeys were there to welcome children to the Springhill Christmas pantomime Jack-a-lad-in-the-beanstalk

Devised and written by 15 men from HMP Springhill, there were five performances to over 300 residents, staff and families. This was our first collaboration with the brilliant Irene Taylor Trust who worked with the men to compose original songs and perform them live.

Listen to the songs here.
Read the feedback here.

More about this project

On Form

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.

Koestler Bronze Award

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.

Puppets pay a visit to HMP Grendon

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.

A Celebration of Spoken Word

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.