North East Connected

Screening provides a platform for important debate

Issues facing women in prison will be addressed by those who can make a real difference during a unique event at Teesside University.

Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law has teamed up with Open Clasp Theatre to provide a free screening of the multi-award winning Key Change – a play which provides a raw and illuminating portrayal of women’s prison experiences.

It will be followed by a question and answer debate with the production team, academics, charity workers and political figures to discuss what can be learnt from the production.

Panel members taking part include Sarah McManus, CEO of A Way Out, an outreach and prevention charity based in Stockton and Councillor Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. They will be joined by Professor Azrini Wahidin, Associate Dean (Research & Innovation) in Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law and Dr Linda Moore, from the University  of  Ulster, who are both leading experts on the needs of women in prison and have published widely on the issues they face. Dr Moore and Professor Wahidin will be using the event to launch their book with Professor Phil Scraton entitled: Women’s Imprisonment, Decarceration and the Case for Abolition: Critical reflections on Corston. Routledge.

Catrina McHugh the artistic director of Open Clasp Theatre and HMP Low Newton’s Learning and Skills Manager Marianne Burrows will also be in attendance.

Key Change was devised with women in HMP Low Newton and has been performed in the Houses of Parliament.  It won the Best of Edinburgh award in 2015 and became the New York Times Critics Pick.

The screening and Q&A, facilitated by Dr Ben Lamb and the University’s Social Realism Seminar, takes place on Wednesday 29 November and coincides with the International Day to End Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) – a UN driven 16 day campaign against gender based violence.

Professor Wahidin said: “Women are a minority within the criminal justice system, accounting for around 5% of the prison population The number of women in prison in England and Wales stood at 4, 020 on 7 July 2017. This rise meant that the women’s prison population exceeded 4,000 for the first time in almost half a decade.

“The drivers to their offending differ significantly from mens’ and they often have more complex needs and are, in the majority of cases, primary carers of children. 6% of women in prison report having suffered domestic violence. 53% of women in prison report having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse during childhood and 31% women in prison have spent time in local authority care as a child.”

The Key Change screening and discussion takes place from 3.00pm, on Wednesday 29 November, in The Curve at Teesside University, room T1.10. The version that will be shown was commissioned by The Space and recorded by the BBC at Durham Gala Theatre earlier this year.

Book a place for the Key Change event

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