News: recent work

Engagement and CRC’s

Andy Watson

We were commissioned recently to develop a performance for a local Community Rehabilitation Company which would enable their entire staff team to think about their roles, especially in light of the split in Probation services which has come about as a consequence of the recent Transforming Rehbilitation agenda. Our performances for staff are designed to create spaces in which people feel able to have meaningful conversations, creating a forum in which complex questions can be debated openly. This piece also asked challenging questions about the nature of building relationships with people when time is limited; the value of communication as opposed to completing paperwork; how probation can work with the whole person, not just the bit of the person that has committed an offence; and how probation staff can be a pivotal component in the desistance journey. In addition, our brief was to motivate and enthuse the staff team about the value of their work. This morning we received feedback from the delegates: 

It was a creative approach that really forced the audience to think about their responses and the fact that it was brilliantly rehearsed, that so much work had gone into producing it; slick

What stuck out for me was the in-depth understanding of our roles, from lots of perspectives.

Fantastic. The way they portray staff and offenders was just spot on. 

It was the most interesting part of the whole day. I was really impressed by their knowledge of our terminology and what the service is going through. It made it more believable. 

Interactice and fun!

Very thought provoking...

Without exception, everyone enjoyed the presentation and above all, found it a very useful learning opportunity. 

Journey Woman - a week long project in HMP Drake Hall

Andy Watson

We have just finished working with a group of women in HMP Drake Hall, where we delivered our week-long project, Journey Woman. Always a challenging week for both the facilitators and the participants but ultimately incredibly rewarding. As one participant put it in her evaluation:

I was wary about coming as I've never done groupwork before and I wasn't too keen. But I can say 100% I thoroughly enjoyed ALL OF IT. The Geese facilitators are amazing, easy to approach and I loved their acting skills. I saw a lot of myself in the past and the present...

Work with women offenders has long been a part of our history and is always delivered by our female practitioners. We deliver projects in the community (and are currently working in partnership with Anawim in Birmingham) as well as in custodial settings and we are part of the network organisation Women's Breakout which is an incredibly useful resource for people working in this sector. We have always believed that our work with women needs to take a different approach to our work with men, which is why we developed Journey Woman and it is interesting to note that a new Clinks document, Who Cares - Where Next for Women Offender Services?  echoes that view: 

It is about the woman's right to get as many services that are women-focused, rather than being at the tail-end of something that has been developed for a man. 

Stay at Birmingham REP

Andy Watson

Last night we performed 'Stay' at Birmingham REP. 'Stay' was devised for work with male perpetrators of domestic abuse and this was the first time we have delivered it to a public audience, outside of a criminal justice context. A little bit of an experiment to see whether or not our work, which is devised for very specific audiences and settings, translates to other audiences without losing meaning and impact. The performance sold out, which tells us there is a demand for people keen to see our work. So far feedback from audience members has been very positive, with comments such as: 

Saw Stay at BirminghamRep last night. A fascinating insight into GeeseTheatre's work on domestic violence.

Uncomfortable, powerful, challenging and incredibly well done...

So worthwhile showing 'Stay.'  Unpleasant viewing but excellently done, helped develop my understanding.

Great to get a rare opportunity to see Geese Theatre doing their stuff last night. Inspiring.

Thank you for sharing some of your work with us last night. Very challenging and emotive.

Stay was simply amazing in so many ways. Well done @GeeseTheatre

It was engaging, challenging, emotive and inspiring and I think it translated very well to the public forum.

It was brilliant and though a desperate topic to cover, it was really enjoyable.

If you were in the audience last night we would love to know what you thought. 

Write to be Heard Evaluation Report published

Andy Watson

In the summer of 2013 Geese were the workshop delivery partner on a NOMS funded initiative entitled Write to be Heard. The objectives of the project were to encourage hard-to-reach offenders to engage with education and arts opportunities in prisons and the project had a number of key strands, including a writing competition, programmes broadcast on the National Prison Radio network, and a series of 28 workshops, in 28 prisons, which were co-delivered by Geese working alongside 10 writers knew to working in prison environments. The project was evaluated by the Institute of Education and the final report has just been published. Download a pdf of the report here.

A quick quote from a member of prison staff involved in organising one of the workshops to whet your appetite:

Sometimes... I wonder what I'm doing in prison education. Today's event reminded me... If there were ever evidence of the method of delivery for engagement and learning: it was provided today.

Geese down under

Keshena Bowie

Andy and Lou from Geese have been in Brisbane, Australia for a couple of weeks at the invitation of Griffith University's Applied Theatre Research Centre.  They started their trip by delivering a training course exploring arts and criminal justice, followed by a three and a half day course for applied theatre students.  The trip will be rounded off with a performance of our domestic abuse play Stay plus a demo and an address at the Creative Innovations in Corrections conference, hosted by the University.

The visit has even made it in to the Australian Corrections News Brief

Although working very hard, Andy and Lou have had opportunity to meet with some friends and ex-colleagues and to view some of the beautiful sites in the local area.  We look forward to welcoming them back to a rather more cold and damp Birmingham next weekend.