At HMP Winchester BearFace Theatre CIC, with support from Hampshire Cultural Trust, are continuing to deliver creative, active and participatory workshop programmes to positively affect prisoner’s attitudes, thinking and behaviour.

Each programme is bespoke and unique and based on the individual and collective stories, ideas, values and experiences of the group. The outcome is different each time and does not always result in a performance but at the end of the programme the men share their work with other prisoners, staff and an invited audience followed by a questions and answers session.

Following a successful pilot programme in 2018, further programmes were delivered throughout 2019. The most recent programme worked with men from the West Hill Resettlement Unit and presented, ‘Stuck in the System’ a performance of poems and spoken word about their lived experience.

Feedback from ‘Stuck in the System’ participants:

 “I have been given the opportunity to share and create with my peers and actually see the end product. Looking back on the journey it is empowering to see the impact each person had in making this production what it was.”

 “This is the first time I have finished anything – I worked with my anxiety and found a way to work and contribute that was comfortable for me. I am important.”

Invited audience member:

 “I cried! Also connected with a deeper understanding. Angry at how people get stuck in the system.

Due to COVID 19 programmes were interrupted, but the project was able to restart in Spring 2023.

This poem was produced by the group before lockdown.


I want to be a better dad

To help those in my path

I want to be fulfilled

I want all the cake…the metaphorical cake

To be understood…for people to hear me


I want to not want what I want

Not want what I want

I don’t want to want

I want to be in a better place

On a beach…alone

Peace of mind & happiness

I want to not need or want more than I’ve got

I want to be free

I want perpetual joy

Joy…I want joy

Joy is love for one another

It’s waking up each morning

It’s waking up each morning without the drama

Walking down the stairs at Xmas with your kids begging to open their presents

Joy…it’s in the desire for something

New friends who I can sign with

It’s no arguments

Joy is freedom, freedom of expression

It’s my son asking, “when you coming home?”

Knowing that he’s never alone

Joy is when my head feels clear & looking up is easy

Joy is always my mum, always my family

When I’m man of the house

It’s the way someone looks at you

When they appreciate your company

Joy is Laughing


Laughing & loving

And believing it

It’s also a high welfare cheese burger,

A chocolate milkshake & chips!



  • How You See Me, How You Don't 2019
  • HMP Winchester session drawing
  • Stuck in the System 2019
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