Continuation of personal appraisal and thoughts

Garry Brooking (Company member, 1976 -1978, and 1980): ‘Doing ‘time’ with Stirabout was a magical mix of hard work and serious fun which was totally fulfilling. What I got from working with Stirabout was a love of making direct contact with audiences and the ability to interact with them; the skills of improvising with others and of thinking fast on my feet, and of being able to perform in a variety of non-theatrical settings. I also learned the skills to create a show on a limited budget and put it together with makeshift costumes and a few props. I am still using all these acquired skills today creating shows for adult performers with learning disabilities. Stirabout made this possible and I remain grateful for having had the opportunity to work with such a wonderful company and all its members.’

Peggy Shannon (Company member, 1976-78): ‘Stirabout was a HUGE life lesson and gave me the confidence to deal with whatever is thrown my life. Going into a prison was initially frightening, then depressing (the gates clanging shut; the sound of keys and more keys and even more keys; the stares from inmates…) but also exhilarating. In Stirabout I gained an appreciation for working as a collective and creating new work for a specific audience. I developed a passion for directing and administration. I worked closely with Corinna, learning about theatre administration and I directed for the first time. Since then, I have had a successful theatre directing career and have had the opportunity to work with many leading names in film and theatre. I have created, commissioned, directed and produced new theatrical work for an international audience and large creative and academic projects. I attribute all of this to my time with Stirabout and Corinna -who was – and has remained over the years – formidable. I loved watching her forcefully deal with the many personalities both in the company and inside the prison system.’

Jan Dungey (Company member, 1976): It was very tough – prisoners just shouted out stuff …nearly caused a riot in one prison when Simon [Prager] dedicated a song to George Davis because he got out that day (it was at the time of the campaign George Davis is Innocent OK). The prison went barmy – they drafted in all the screws – it was very volatile. If you confronted things head on you would not have been asked back. The company was founded by Corinna [Seeds] the administrator – fairly fearsome… women’s prisons was a totally different vibe –but male prisons made the Comedy Store look like a walk in the park – 100s and 100s of vocal stroppy men – challenging!’

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