Behind Bars: Ghosts of the Lock-Up

The poster for Behind Bars: Ghosts of the Lock-Up a site-specific production of new writing telling real-life West Midlands stories by Bold Text Playwrights collective

Our first site-specific production, Behind Bars took place within the walls of a 130 year-old Victorian prison. Kicking off with nine performances in October 2018, the show’s notoriety got it sent back to the clink for a further twelve performances the following year. Click ‘continue reading’ or scroll down for older posts about the show.

The Central Lock-Up in Birmingham’s aptly named Steelhouse Lane closed in 2016, ahead of it’s conversion to the West Midlands Police Museum. For the first time, all eight BOLDtext writers came together to collaborate on a single show, bringing to life characters from the building’s past. These included Tommy Tank (a notorious and hilarious drunk), Evelyn Miles (one of the UK’s first female police officers), Chief Inspector Rafter (inspiration for Inspector Campbell in Peaky Blinders), and even Sarah Bernhardt (the world-famous French actress). Audiences loved the combination of top-notch drama and the chance to look around one of the city’s most infamous hidden spaces.

“Very atmospheric – sent shivers down my spine several times.”

Audience member

“Fabulous show! Informative and emotional.”

Audience member

“BOLDtext are guilty of putting on a captivating show.”

British Theatre Guide


Writers: Stephen Jackson, Liz John, Nicola Jones, Sayan Kent, Vanessa Oakes, Tim Stimpson and Julia Wright.  Director: Jo Gleave/Tim Stimpson.  Actors: Alison Belbin, David Gray, Francesca Millican-Slater, Graeme Rose, Laurance Saunders, Becky Wright.

Funded by Arts Council England and The Sir Barry Jackson Trust

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