Using Innovative Theatrical Strategies to Explore Solitary Confinement

Staging, Location and Logistics

In our second blog about working with Talking Birds Theatre to disseminate our research on the impact of solitary confinement and its relationship to mental breakdown we consider staging, locations, logistics, and the dreaded ‘what shall we call the piece’ discussion!

We’re delighted to hear that writer and director Peter McCann is available to work with us once again – his work is fantastic and he has a great feel for the historical material. We thoroughly enjoyed our previous two productions with him and this will ensure that we maintain the Trilogy feel.

Juggling dates hasn’t been easy – we need suitable performance venues to be available, actors to be able to rehearse and perform in all locations, and then we are trying to fit in our own availability so we can run the post-show panel discussions. After shuffling around other obligations, we think we have finally agreed the dates. We just need to double check everything before we can announce them!.

Background research

Talking Birds and Peter have been absorbing the mass of material we sent them to read, and our ideas are coalescing around the idea of solitary confinement, or the ‘separate system’ as it was known, as an experiment. Who made the decisions and how? And why were warnings about the devastating impact of this form of prison discipline on the minds of prisoners ignored?

Inventive Staging

There’s some typically inventive staging being discussed, making the audience complicit in the supervisory and decision-making roles, and a possibility that it may be a single gender piece which would be very interesting. Janet from Talking Birds was the designer on a piece at the Belgrade Theatre, Red Snapper, http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/red-snapper, which we very much liked and had some stylistic tics that made the single gender cast work fluidly for character changes. We are also delighted that there will be a musical dimension to the production.

Promotional material

We’ve got a perfect image to use to promote the show, very easily agreed by all, and have finally agreed a title, Disorder Contained: A theatrical examination of madness, prison and solitary confinement. So publicity materials are currently being created.

Our next blog should be able to tell you when and where you can see the show… Coventry,  Dublin and Belfast are booked, London is going to be in the Autumn, … watch this space.

Image: Kilmainham Gaol Museum Dublin (East Wing Solitary Confinement), sourced on Creative Commons.


Disorder Contained: Show Announcement

London Dates Confirmed

  • Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London, 9 – 10 October: Book now!

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