News by Keshena Bowie

Mark’s story

Keshena Bowie

Mark Ball is the Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival, but started his own journey here at Geese...

Almost 3 decades ago my first job in the arts was as Geese Theatre’s very first Administrator.  It was the job that shaped me, not just because it gave me the organisational tools in finance, marketing, planning and fundraising to become a producer, but because it taught me the values of achieving things together as a team. Everything was run on shoestring, the pay was a pittance and working conditions could best be described as basic – on tours we all slept, cooked and ate on the company van.  And that life in the company, working with some of this country’s most difficult and damaged offenders, was often simultaneously hilarious, outrageous, shocking and humbling.  But it’s not the Geese anecdotes I reflect on from my time there.  After all these years, it’s the sense of comradery, of growing as people together, of a shared purpose where a bunch passionate young people who believed in the power of theatre to affect change made incredible work together. Great organisations understand that their agency comes from growing people and in everything it does Geese does that, and I shall be always be thankful for my own Geese journey.

Alison’s story

Keshena Bowie

Alison was a company member from 2002 to 2006.  Here's her story...

My time at Geese was the most extraordinary and exhilarating learning curve. As a wide eyed new member, for three weeks one freezing cold January I had the privilege of observing Alun work with men in Full Sutton Prison on “Insult to Injury”. I remember the care and skill Al displayed as the group trusted him with their stories, let down their masks and grieved for the loss of their youth, their freedom, their hope. His stillness and grace as he witnessed their pain will stay with me for a lifetime. I was hooked. Blown away by the power of this work, by the dignity of the process, the way it allowed vulnerability in the most brutal of places.
All the work I have done since has been shaped and informed by my learning at Geese. After Geese, I co-founded Re-Live, a life story organisation, and have been delighted to collaborate with Andy Watson on our work with veterans and families over the last few years, and to benefit from the expertise and wisdom of Clark as we developed our life story training programme.
For me, Geese was profound, challenging, heart-breaking and full of dark humour and resilience. Deep friendships made, tough lessons learnt, countless extraordinary experiences and memories.
I also met my husband there so thank you Geese in many ways!

The story of a Journey

Keshena Bowie

“I thought you were all going to be a bunch of civvy c****s, but actually you’re alright…”

In 2016, K took part in JourneyMan, a week long programme designed to address wellbeing and confidence for people in custody, particularly those who might be at risk of suicide or deliberate self-harm.

After working with Geese over 5 days, L was clearly inspired.  A week later, we received an email from a staff member at the prison to say that K was going to run a marathon for us, on a treadmill in the prison gym!

K raised over £400 in sponsorship, mostly from his fellow prisoners.  The average working prisoner earns about £10 a week so K must have been very convincing in telling people why he needed their sponsorship money!


Sponsorship and donations allow us to deliver projects, like JourneyMan, that inspire, motivate and change the perceptions of people in prison.  Can you support us to do more?

Post-show discussion: Our Country’s Good at REP Birmingham

Keshena Bowie

We will be delivering a post-show discussion following the below performance of Our Country's Good on 23rd May 2018 at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Wednesday 23rd May 2018 - 19:30

Venue: Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Presented by A Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company, in co-production with Ramps on the Moon.

Both a comedy and a powerful drama, Our Country's Good shows us how we can escape the chains that bind us.

In 1787, ships each with over 700 convicts on board set sail on an eight month voyage. When they arrive in Australia, their survival is by no means certain: supplies are running out, the convicts are stealing food or trying to escape and the guards are threatening mutiny.

Our Country's Good tells the extraordinary true story of a group of convicts and a young officer who rehearse and perform a play - Australia's first theatrical production. With opposition from the officers and a leading lady who may be hanged, the odds are stacked against them.

This is a great opportunity to hear about our work delivering theatre-based projects in prison settings. Our CEO Andy will provide a fascinating insight into a theatre world that is often hidden and discuss the modern challenges and opportunities that we face. There will also be a brief demonstration of our work.

Tickets are available from the REP website we are pleased to be able to offer tickets for £10 - just use the code COUNTRYGEESE at checkout.

The code is only valid for the 23rd May performance, and there is a limit of two tickets per person
This production of Our Country's Good is presented by A Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company, in co-production with Ramps on the Moon.  Geese are not performing, we will be presenting the post show discussion only.