More Reviews

Les Grantham (Dirty Den)
‘When we first heard about this prison theatre we tended to think they must be nosey, they want to see what we look like or they want to get their rocks off – or they’re do-gooders. Then we thought you must be cranks and then you became friends. The show allowed us to escape from our environment and see something where we had to use our brain – we didn’t think what you did was theatre at first because most of us had never been to the theatre. You were streets ahead of the other groups we saw because you were the only ones that knew what to do…You didn’t play down to us. I would have loved to go back in a prison with you because I think it would show mates that people can do what they want to. If I were running Stirabout I’d do the same sort of stuff as you’re doing now. It’s bloody hard work and they’re hard to please. I wouldn’t make any moral or social judgments. Songs, music, jokes, topical humour – an extravaganza of entertainment. When we came away we’d had a fucking good evening, we’d go away laughing and forget our wives were fucking the milkman or that the kids were playing truant. I think if you pack up Stirabout it’s a tragedy, it’ll be another door closed and who’ll fill the gap?’
(Extract from interview, 1979)

Plays and Players article
‘Inside prison the most cautious-seeming material becomes potentially explosive. The whole atmosphere is inevitably tense in a period of frequent rioting.…The final item involves two volunteers from the audience and can end up anywhere. …It’s this kind of opportunity for audience involvement and comic release of tension that is the company’s reason d’être.  …As we left the prison, the barred windows were full of waving arms.  One hand held a mirror through which the van could be glimpsed driving out.’ Jeremy Treglown, 1979

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