English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy
Radio Drama and Documentaries in Prison
Radio Drama can tick many boxes for prisoners. It can provide them with the skills of writing, acting, technical expertise, an outlet for their musical ability and team-work. It can give them joy, confidence and a sense of purpose. Also through writing and performing plays and documentaries that may also involve victims, families and staff, it may encourage them to use their imagination to identify with another point of view; helping them in turn to become contributing members of society.
It has been a privilege and a joy for me to work with two inspiring and dedicated writers-in-residence: Mary Stephenson, while she was at HMP Channings Wood and Gerry Ryan, while she was at HMP Rye Hill.
A Journey through Drugs
This Radio feature, a compilation of interviews, improvised dramas, poems and music by the prisoners, families, friends and staff of the Drugs Therapeutic Community, HMP Channings Wood, is one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on. It was devised by the brilliant Mary Stephenson.
In 2001 it won first prize in the Arthur Koestler Drama Award for artistic work with prisoners in the UK.
The Judges commented:
- Excellent choice of poetry with music. The stories were heartbreaking. The whole production was of a very high standard and I can only say, "Well done, well done, well done."
- "This was outstanding in every way. Engrossing from beginning to end. The music was perfectly chosen, uncannily so. I was moved, appalled and saddened by the tragedies I heard. You educated and informed me and I can only say I feel encouraged that you are working together to start new lives. My admiration is boundless and I cannot congratulate you enough."
Part of the Government's policy to prevent re-offending is to encourage sport and the arts in prisons. Sadly whenever there are cut backs these are the two areas that suffer. Is this a false economy!?