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Pollsmoor inmates take to the stage!

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Offenders and Ex-offenders rehabilitation, Social & Community
- in their ground –breaking play THE OUTSIDERS at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

The media describes Pollsmoor, as “the famous yet infamous prison known by many in our communities as a place where offenders graduate to Number gangs, a place where hope is seen as myth and rehabilitation programmes as a mirage in the desert”.

Within this fort-like structure warehousing the forgotten members of our communities, a group of inmates have broken the boundary to go beyond the norm.

Coming soon in the second week of July (10th to 12th), eight soon-to-be  released inmates from Pollsmoor Correctional Centre will perform their ground –breaking play THE OUTSIDERS at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. This work is the culmination of six months of intensive drama training and direction and demonstrates the use of drama and theatre in rehabilitation and reintegration

The Outsiders is a play developed under the auspices of The «Help I am free...» program of the Varde Theatre in Norway where it has been running with great success for the last decade. It started in South Africa in 2013, in collaboration with the Artscape Theatre, Pollsmoor Correctional Centre and NICRO, and is currently funded by the Norwegian Peace Corps. 'Help! I am free’ is a rehabilitation program using theatre as a tool for empowerment. The goal is to follow the participants during their last year of imprisonment and during their first year of freedom. The aim is to motivate the inmates to become responsible citizens, role models and mentors in their communities, thus avoiding re-offending.

During 2013 with the culmination of 9 months intensive theatre training and direction, the group performed, to a sell-out crowd, their first play «While we are waiting», at the Artscape theatre in Cape Town.

This year joined by three former inmates, these actors have developed and written the script based in part on their personal testimonies and life histories. The Outsiders addresses the theme of incarceration as a continuous experiment, with uncertain and random outcomes, and obscure expectations. The play gives us a rare glimpse into prison life, normally hidden and invisible from society’s eye, and allows us to build up some insight and empathy into the impact and consequences of incarceration and the fears and challenges of the inmates

The inmates are offered top-notch theatre training and artistic direction from the Norwegian facilitators, and also benefit from exposure to local talent. “The Outsiders promises to take on the serious themes and delight with the whimsical”, says Creative Director Terje Halsvik. “Overall, we are hoping that the audience will be challenged in their own perceptions of criminal offenders, and leave with an open mind on the concept of theatre as a rehabilitation tool” says Halsvik.

The performances will be showing at the Arena Theatre at Artscape on the following dates:

Thursday 10th July at 19.30, Friday 11th July at 19.30 and Saturday 12th July at 17.00 and 19.30

Tickets are free of charge and available at Artscape through Computicket.

For more information or statements please feel free to contact stian@helpiamfree.com or on mobile: 0748513157, or visit their homepage www.helpiamfree.com for more information.

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