This Spring, Theatre Royal Plymouth will return to HMP Channings Wood with its Our Space programme.
The project has delivered three courses over the last three years. At the end of the last programme, participants presented a piece of theatre to prison staff they created about their experience of prison and what rehabilitation means to them.
Our Space started over 13 years ago and is a creative programme working with adults with lived experience of homelessness, mental health, substance misuse, reoffending or feel socially isolated for other reasons. The weekly sessions take place at the theatre’s production and learning centre, TR2 along with community hubs sessions out in the community.
Our Space uses drama as a tool to build confidence, whilst learning theatre skills in a fun and supportive environment.
One participant of Our Space at Channings Wood, said: “I enjoyed it from the start, it gets me out of my cell and we broke the ice in a lot of different ways. It’s improved my confidence and anxiety; it’s really helped me come out of my shell.”
Sara Rhodes, Associate Director, Co-Curated and Outdoor Work at Theatre Royal Plymouth, said: “We are really proud of the partnership we have formed with HMP Channings Wood to bring Our Space into the prison and contribute to the rehabilitation and education programme.
“Being able to provide a consistent creative offering that supports wellbeing is so important to us and is proven in the success of the Our Space programme. The openness, honesty and creativity that the men we worked with across the pilot was amazing and we can’t wait to continue the work.”
Dave Crawford, Acting Deputy Governor at HMP Channings Wood, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those in our care to engage with an activity that improves self-esteem, self-awareness, confidence, and wellbeing. It has been a real pleasure to see first-hand the benefits and the positive impact to the participants over previous programmes. This ongoing partnership, working with Theatre Royal Plymouth helps us to ensure we are maximising all opportunities for rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.”
The five-week programme begins this month.