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Prison Partnership Project

Our programmes and courses

We offer a variety of programmes for women with experience of the criminal justice system in the prison environment, at the university post-release.

Actor placing crown on head

Our courses are co-designed with the prison, putting the women we work with and the students at the centre, following a pro-social model to allow participants to develop communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.

The courses enable an opportunity for the women to have belief in their ability to be creative, write and share performance work with other members of the group and with the wider prison community.

Engagement in the courses can enhance emotional management through relational practice and our way of working when supporting each other in the space.

The courses allow women to negotiate creatively, support each other, be kind and create work collaboratively as a team of women alongside York St John staff and students and leave with a sense of hope and possibility and identity transformation.

Drama course in prisons

Throughout the programmes we run in prison we explore drama techniques, image based work, movement, poetry and writing for performance. Students and women prisoners have the opportunity to co-create performances together and are able to invite Offender Management Unit workers, support workers and any members of staff to their performance.

Showcasing their creativity, commitment and hard work, women begin to redefine their identity as a theatre maker, performer or writer.

Singing and Songwriting: Emerging Voices

Our weekly singing and songwriting sessions offer an opportunity for the women to engage in developing vocal technique with warm ups, breathing exercises and singing together designed to support improved mental health, positive group interactions and development of self-esteem. 

Collaborative songwriting provides a platform for self-discovery and greater individual empowerment for the women we work with. York St John University staff and students support the women in these collaborative processes.

Each 10 week project will enable the recording and production of a CD of both original and cover songs for the women to keep and share with their family and friends.

Shakespeare on Screen in Prisons

Shakespeare on Screen in Prisons is a partnership between renowned theatre and film director Phyllida Lloyd's company PCL Productions and York St John Prison Partnership Project.

The project delivers and explores the world class Donmar Warehouse Trilogy Shakespeare films (Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest) in female prisons in the UK.

It uses recorded theatre performance and innovative digital media resources as a model of delivery in a prison context in order to increase access to high quality arts experiences and drama engagement in the criminal justice system.