BOLDtext Playwrights are delighted to announce the panel for their audience discussion, ‘Sentencing for the Future’, which follows their latest show, The Sentence, three brand new short plays at Birmingham REP on Monday 28 January 8pm.
The post-show discussion panel will be chaired by Professor Jackie Hodgson from Warwick University’s School of Law. Jackie has organised a range of public engagement events around prisoner well-being and women in prison, and her research has focused on comparative criminal justice in the UK and Europe.
Jackie will be joined by Gregor Forde, community activist, advocate for the alienated and disadvantaged, with lived experience of the criminal justice system. Former probation officer Tania Bassett is our third panel member – she is the Midlands link official for NAPO, the Trade Union & Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Staff. Tania works closely with the MOJ to develop training and professional standards.
Paying the Price by Liz John
A disgraced surgeon awaits sentencing, when a young solicitor arrives with unexpected news.
Offences Against the Person by Vanessa Oakes
Why do sentences sometime bemuse and enrage the public?
Working Mother by Julia Wright
Karen will soon be leaving prison. Has she learned her lesson? Sophie tries to help her but is it working?
The evening is a ‘pay what you can on the night’ show, so tickets are free to book HERE, or by calling The REP box office on 0121 236 4455. Our script-in-hand new writing nights often sell out, so it’s best to reserve tickets in advance.
The Sentence is part of The REP’s ‘Open Door’ season, directed by Vicki Duckett and curated by Vanessa Oakes & Julia Wright. The performance will be followed by the panel discussion, ‘Sentencing for the Future’ – after which we can retire to the bar to continue the conversation.
BOLDtext Playwrights had a great day out recently, popping over to see our own Sayan Kent’s latest musical at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre, Maggie May, co-created with Bob Eaton. Set over WW1, it was clever, moving and funny – one minute businessmen sang hilariously about capitalism, and the next, women mourned lost babies with their shawls. Multi-talented 11-strong cast, and the audience loved it. So did we!
BOLDtext Playwrights’ most recent show, Behind Bars – Ghosts of the Lock Up, went down a storm in Birmingham city centre last month – with sell-out audiences who loved the humorous and heart-wrenching tales we told, as well as the more everyday stories embedded in the WM Police former Lock Up building. It felt like our contrasting voices each captured something different from the space, with wonderful performances to bring them to life. “Emotionally transporting”, ” Very atmospheric – shivers down my spine several times”, and “Really unique experience” were just some of the comments from our many visitors.
And it was a unique experience for us too – we absolutely loved this site-specific work and hope to do more of the same – both at the Lock Up and elsewhere around the region. We just need to decide where – so if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.
Our thanks to Arts Council England and Sir Barry Jackson Trust for their support with this project, and of course everyone at the proposed WM Police Museum who made us feel so welcome.
In the meantime, BOLDtext is working on another night of political shorts at Birmingham Rep on Monday 28 January 2019, so watch this space.
Our new show ‘Behind Bars: Ghosts of the Lock-Up’ runs from the 19th-21st October for nine performances only. Taking a theatrical journey through Birmingham’s Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up, it will raise spirits from the prison’s past. Julia Wright writes about one of them…
When we were given the possible choices for characters whose stories we could tell, I chose Maud Dillon, as she seemed at first to be a woman who was caught up in a life of prostitution. I was interested to find out why she might have been involved in that when she was a woman who had a job as a polisher – likely to be a metal polisher who worked in the jewellery industry. Was she desperate for money?
The only information about Maud Dillon is that she was 25 when she was arrested on 5/8/1921 for indecent behaviour. She was given a fine – £4 or 25 days in prison. I then discovered that ‘indecent behaviour’ could range from shouting and swearing in public to soliciting (prostitution). So maybe she was merely shouting and swearing in public? But why? When looking into the work that police women did at the time I found it seemed to contain a lot of what we would now call social work. Young women were picked up from around the station, seeking to meet soldiers and in 1919, 25% of them were under 17. What dreadful lives drove them to that?
In June 1918 a hostel was set up in Dale End to ensure women were in a place of safety from abuse while further enquiries were made to find them work or more permanent lodgings – one of the first hostels in the country. The workhouse was where some women who were abused ended up but was feared by all and women would be separated from their children (children still legally belonged to the father until 1925 so it was difficult for many women to leave abusive relationships). For some women the workhouse was better than the abuse at home
Miss Dorothy Peto became a lady enquiry officer with the CID in Birmingham in 1920. She visited homes, investigating indecent assaults and abuse and stated ‘the relief of victims was obvious when they saw a female police officer had come to take their statement.’
I have linked together the work of Dorothy Peto and a possible explanation for Maud Dillon’s arrest to highlight the often appalling abuse that women had to endure, sometimes at the hands of their partners. The disturbed mental conditions of returning soldiers were often not recognised and PTSD was not diagnosed or understood.
For discounted tickets CLICK HERE or if there or none left try the link below:
Our new show ‘Behind Bars: Ghosts of the Lock-Up’ runs from the 19th-21st October for nine performances only. Taking a theatrical journey through Birmingham’s Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up, it will raise spirits from the prison’s past. Stephen Jackson writes about one of them…
No high heels, no short skirts – that’s the advice for anyone coming to our next show. Why? Because it takes place in a jail and our audience will have to negotiate the walkways and spiral staircases of Birmingham’s Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up – three floors of echoing prison cells and clanging doors.
It’s a fantastic venue for a theatrical experience. Its shadows are full of ghosts. Incredibly, this nineteenth-century prison was in use until just recently, but we have gone back a hundred years to look at some of its legendary prisoners and staff.
When I saw the list of characters, there was only one I wanted to write about: Thomas Larvin – one of the Lock-Up’s craziest inmates. Arrested countless times for drunkenness, he became best known by his nickname Tommy Tank – a reference to his enormous capacity for drink.
A fishmonger and street hawker, Tommy was also a joker and a prankster who would do anything for a bet – especially if booze was involved. Apparently he once walked backwards from Deritend to Stonebridge with a brick on his head to win a bet for copious amounts of ale.
On other occasions he was known to bite the heads off rats to earn himself a drink. Tommy was a colourful character around town. Unfortunately, his drinking led to skirmishes with pub landlords, broken windows and overnight stays in the Lock-Up before his frequent appearances in court the next morning.
If you’d like to meet Tommy and other ghosts of the Lock-Up, remember not to wear your high heels. It should be a great show in a great venue. It would be a crime to miss it.
Follow this link to book your tickets now: