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 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!