News: recent work

Conflict Zone - Reducing Parental Conflict

Andy Watson

Conflict Zone

A brand new training performance exploring the theme of Parental Conflict designed for social care, health, mental health and education professionals, police and others who work with children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the Government, "there is strong evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances." This performance, originally commissioned by Birmingham Children's Trust and funded by the DWP, follows two fictional families and explores some of the issues which exacerbate parental conflict (financial worries, unemployment, COVID 19) and the differences between parental conflict and domestic abuse. The two contrasting stories powerfully depict the effects of destructive conflict on children, whether parents are living together or apart. The piece asks the audience to consider how professionals can help parents understand their children’s needs and manage conflict constructively.

Delivered during April and May 2022, the training has received amazing feedback:

I thought this was an excellent method of training. I have raved about it to my colleagues and told them they have to attend.”

“It was excellent, so believable. The pace was good, the way the different kinds of conflicts were featured was very thought provoking. Could really feel the experiences of the children and the different experiences even though in the same family. Performances were exceptional.”

"Very powerful training, which will have had an impact on all the professionals attending; a really creative way of putting this across and good to challenge social care professionals about the 'masks' we all where and the importance of being real and transparent"

“Innovative, different, fresh and informative. Loved that the 4th wall was removed and audience were able to get involved.”

If you would like more information about Conflict Zone or would like to book a performance for your team or event then please contact us: info@geese.co.uk 

Online Information Sessions

Keshena Bowie

Interested in finding out more about the work of Geese Theatre Company? Intrigued about the use of theatre in prisons? Researching the role of the arts in criminal justice settings? 

Why not attend one of our Online Information Sessions? 

Our  'Online Information Sessions' are hosted by a Senior Practitioner from Geese and generally last about two hours. In these sessions you will have the opportunity to:

  • Hear about the range of our work
  • Learn about our ethos and theoretical approach
  • See filmed examples
  • Ask questions relevant to your own work, interests and research.

The next session is on 23rd June at 11am
 

Sessions are really informal and attended by a range of people from all over the world, inlcuding prison and probation officers, people with lived experience, and students and academics.

Get your tickets for this event here!

Working Safely during Covid-19

Keshena Bowie

In response to current Covid-19 restrictions, we've adapted some of our interactive training performances to be delivered online for up to 100 delegates.

We've also been working hard with partners in the community, in mental health settings and in prisons to ensure we can still work creatively with participants in these settings.

If you're interested in working with us on a project but don't know how it can work under current restrictions - head to our landing page to find out more and get in touch!

We would love to hear from you if you have an idea for a project or training event.

Working with Male Prisoners at Risk of Suicide and Self Harm

Keshena Bowie

Our Director of Programmes, Louise Heywood, has written an article for Arts Professional about our recent work with male prisoners at risk of suicide and self harm. 

Journeyman is a five-day project with adult male prisoners deemed to be at risk of self-harm or suicide, delivered in partnership with the Safer Custody teams in prisons. First delivered last year, and funded by the National Offender Management Service, it focusses on connecting with others, letting go of negative beliefs, goal-setting and developing new skills.

You can read the full article here:

Resilience and our Conference Training Work

Keshena Bowie

Our CEO and Artistic Director, Andy Watson, has been reflecting on our resilience over the last 30 years and has written the following blog about our conference and staff training work:

Geese Theatre Company works in a very challenging sector – the criminal justice system. As we approach our 30th birthday we have taken a moment to reflect on our history and some of the many people we have worked with. Some of those stories will be gathered here throughout the year.

As we talk to people about the organisation celebrating 30 years, a common question crops up: “How have you survived?” Delivering arts projects in criminal justice settings is subject to changing ideas from government, governors, commissioners and public opinion and our core audiences are seldom in the position to become legacy donors or to pay for a front row ticket. Whilst now there is a lot of interest in the sector we are also aware that may not always be the case.

‘Resilience’ and ‘sustainability’ are current buzz words, with an increasing acknowledgment that the way the arts is financed is changing. As an NPO we receive approximately 10% of our income from the Arts Council. Another 20% comes from grant making trusts. This vital funding enables us to pilot new ideas and support our core work with people who have committed offences or who are at risk. The remaining 70% of our income is earned and we are fortunate to have a reputation where prisons, secure hospitals and community organisations will pay towards the projects we deliver with them.

However it’s unlikely that we would still be in existence if we hadn’t developed a third strand of work – bespoke conference performances and training events for professionals. These are commissioned by organisations to support their programmes, enhance their appreciation of particular issues or increase the skills of their staff. We accept commissions from a wide-range of organisations with the understanding that every commission must have a clear link to our core work.  Adopting a theatre style similar to our prison performances we closely mirror experiences that audiences may face in their professional role and encourage them to actively engage in debate about the dilemmas presented on-stage.

“It was by far the most effective and thought provoking training I have attended during my police service”

This work started early in Geese’s history. In the late 1980s we were invited to present some of our prison performances at staff events. For example, our prison production Lifting the Weight explores issues around resettlement for prisoners and was presented to audiences of probation officers to enhance their understanding of the barriers facing their clients.

A significant moment came in 1993 when we were commissioned to create a performance at the Probation Chief’s Association annual conference. This placed the company in front of every senior probation manager in the country and provided an excellent introduction to the value of arts in criminal justice settings as well as enabling us to showcase the use of theatre as a training method. 

Last year, we worked with approximately 5000 staff with commissions from Clinical Commissioning Groups, social work teams, police forces and the judiciary.

Most recently we have created Safe Stages, a performance which explores the reality of safeguarding within arts venues. Devised in partnership with a large local theatre, Safe Stages encourages whole staff teams to reflect on how to put policy into practice.  The piece challenges audiences to recognise indicators of vulnerability and abuse, identify barriers there might be to reporting and consider what a proactive, as opposed to reactive, approach to safeguarding might look like.

"An expert, engaging and ultimately moving exploration of a difficult subject. Really made the policy live...when can you come back?"

Key for us is that we only take commissions when we feel that our knowledge of our core client groups and the systems they are living within can be brought to life to the benefit of the commissioning agency.

For example, our 30 year history of working with people who have perpetrated abuse means that we have insight into their motivations and strategies which we can accurately portray on stage for organisations wishing to enhance their staff understanding of safeguarding issues. 

Equally, the model works because the relationship is mutually beneficial – by developing training work for professionals we are able spend time researching and developing our understanding of their particular sector which can then inform our core work.  

For us, building a resilient business model is not about ‘selling’ our work to anyone who might want it, but about really understanding how the specialist knowledge and expertise we have built up over the past three decades can truly add value to the development of professionals from other sectors. 

To enquire about our Conference and Staff Training work, email info@geese.co.uk or call 0121 4496222