“50% of prison leavers in the UK are reincarcerated within a year of their release, and two-thirds within two years. The show offers a fresh perspective on a social issue that has endured for decades but has become even more critical at a time when those who are marginalised in society are being pushed even further to the edge.”
WHO: Isobel Griffiths and Amara Heyland: Producer and Director
WHAT: “Standing on the side of a road, clutching a plastic bag in one hand and £46 in the other, staring at the future.
Like many prison leavers, Sam has just been released into the middle of nowhere. Miles from home, with no place to go and no way of getting there, there is nothing to do except walk.
In this brand new devised piece, Roadside Theatre offers a frank look at the reality of leaving prison in the UK through Sam’s eyes. Drawing on real-life testimony to tell unheard stories with humour and compassion, Paper Boats explores what it means to start again.”
WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge
WHEN: 27-29 September (times vary)
MORE: Click Here!
What does Cambridge mean to you?
We both went to university in Cambridge, and spent three years constantly amazed at how much culture, history, and passion a small city could hold! Roadside Theatre was founded in Cambridge, and we love the unique and diverse audiences that the city can offer. Paper Boats, in particular, comes from a crucial time for rehabilitative justice both nationally and internationally. The murders of two Cambridge graduates at a conference on rehabilitative justice leaves a legacy for this in the city, and adds an urgency to the issues we raise. We wouldn’t want anywhere else to be the site of the show’s debut.
Tell us about your show.
A devised one-hander making its debut at Cambridge’s Town & Gown Theatre, Paper Boats was inspired by the true stories of prison leavers and the struggle of being suddenly ejected from an institution in which you have spent most of your adult life, often into a state of homelessness. 50% of prison leavers in the UK are reincarcerated within a year of their release, and two-thirds within two years. The show offers a fresh perspective on a social issue that has endured for decades but has become even more critical at a time when those who are marginalised in society are being pushed even further to the edge.
Through cooperation with facilitators of The Forgiveness Project’s RESTORE programme, we have had the opportunity to interview ex-offenders and rehabilitation workers in order to gather real-life testimony about the experience of leaving prison in the UK today, from those who have experienced it themselves and those working on the frontline of trying to redress systemic failures. Creating a show which is gripping, dynamic and compassionate, we will shed light on a little-known aspect of navigating the prison system in this country; what happens when you leave?
What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?
We like work that explores urgent social issues in a way that is dynamic and fresh. Thought-provoking art that is for the current moment is what makes us go out and see it. We have been inspired by the work of Clean Break, a female led theatre company who work in prisons and use theatre to raise the profile of criminal justice issues.
We also are inspired by Cambridge itself. We have always loved the local venues in the city: the ADC Theatre, the arts theatre, and the many local gig venues. That’s why we’re so excited to be performing at the Town & Gown, because it’s bringing fringe theatre to the forefront in Cambridge. We’re so intrigued by the work that’s being performed there, and are excited to be a part of the programme!
You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?
To our younger selves, we’d tell them not to fret about what career you’re going to end up in. You’ll realise that the arts are what you love, and even when you graduate into a pandemic you will still find a way to create. For our older selves, we want them to remember to be glad that we didn’t give up, even though being an artist in your 20s is really bloody difficult and while there may have been moments where you thought about sacking it in and working in Canary Wharf, you didn’t!
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