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Bristol drama graduates write debut play about prison

The real stories and experiences of female prisoners have inspired a stage production by two drama graduates.

Written by Lauren Rickards and Aroob Sajjad from the Bristol School of Acting, 'Circuit Breaker' is their theatrical debut.

The production has a mainly female cast and crew, with only two men among the characters.

"We want to tie the knot between theatre and real life," said Ms Rickards.

"Every single story is based on a true story. It's really key to us," she added.

"These stories are so traumatic we don't want to overdramatise, it doesn't need to be overdone."

Circuit Breaker is a story about an activist and a sex worker who meet in prison. Alongside other inmates, they create an underground magazine to get theirs and others stories heard.

The writers have worked with charities including Women in Prison and the Prison Reform Trust to draw on the memories and recollections of people who have been behind bars.

Written when they were still studying at the Bristol School of Acting, bringing the production to The Wardrobe Theatre has been a labour of love.

"Lauren and I have just graduated so when we were writing it, it was during the last few months of our course," said Ms Sajjad.

"It's been a very busy past few months. But our drive and our passion has kept us going.

"Lauren said: 'Let's do something about prison', because it's a very hidden world and kept away from the public eye and it's one people would rather not think about.

"But everyone deserves basic human rights.

"It's been challenging and very intense but what's kept us going is getting the story out there."

The two have also created the company Knot Theatre, which will be taking on projects about challenging injustices and prioritising the voices and ideas of women and under-represented communities.


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