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Snape Maltings hosts arts showcase for work in criminal justice system

PUBLISHED: 14:17 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 22 August 2019

Sweatbox by Clean Break invites audiences into the back of a prison van at Snape Maltings Photo Snape Maltings

Sweatbox by Clean Break invites audiences into the back of a prison van at Snape Maltings Photo Snape Maltings

Archant

Snape Maltings, in its many guises over the past 20 years, has played an important role in the rehabilitation of those held in Suffolk's prisons. This weekend, as part of Snape Proms, they are holding a showcase of their work

Koestler Arts East of England Exhibition at Snape Maltings Photo: Snape MaltingsKoestler Arts East of England Exhibition at Snape Maltings Photo: Snape Maltings

Snape Proms is an essential part of summer in Suffolk. This year Snape Maltings is using the month-long series to shine a light on a part of its programme which is not usually publicly accessible - its work in criminal justice settings.

Snape Maltings has one of the longest continuous partnerships with its local prison of any arts organisation in the UK, and 2019 marks 20 years of collaboration with HMP Warren Hill.

Phillipa Reive, Creative Campus Director at Snape, explains what this work involves:

"A group of musicians put together by Snape Maltings goes into the prison one afternoon each week throughout the year to work with a group of offenders who have volunteered to take part, helping them create their own songs. Each week they focus on a part of the project - writing lyrics and melodies, creating harmonies and accompanying rhythms and working towards performances of the songs which take place in HMP Warren Hill twice a year."

Koestler Arts East of England Exhibition at Snape Maltings Photo: Snape MaltingsKoestler Arts East of England Exhibition at Snape Maltings Photo: Snape Maltings

The overall aim of this work, says Reive, is "to equip the offenders with practical and social skills through the use of music and creative experiences, encouraging people to express emotions, gain confidence and build new relationships. This helps offenders turn their lives around and contributes to their rehabilitation."

On Saturday August 24 Snape Maltings presents a public showcase entitled Re:Lease, which showcases not only its own project but also the work of a number of national partners - Koestler Arts, The Irene Taylor Trust, Clean Break and Fine Cell Work - all of which use arts in criminal justice settings as a tool for rehabilitation.

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All the events are free but for some events capacities are limited so booking via the Snape Maltings website or box office is recommended.

A group of offenders working as part of an Irene Taylor Trust project Photo: Snape MaltingsA group of offenders working as part of an Irene Taylor Trust project Photo: Snape Maltings

The national charity Koestler Arts invites visitors to explore its East of England Exhibition, which takes place in three locations around the site and which is on throughout August. The exhibition, entitled A Feeling We All Share, presents visual art and writing from criminal justice settings across the East of England, all responding to three songs created by men at HMP Warren Hill as part of Snape Maltings' programme.

The theatre company Clean Break presents Sweatbox, a 15-minute theatre piece inviting audiences to enter the back of a prison van at Snape Maltings in which three women give accounts of experiences within criminal justice settings. Performances take place at 12pm, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm.

The day culminates at 2.30pm with the Re:Lease Performance in the Britten Studio, featuring music created in prisons and other criminal justice settings by Snape Maltings and the Irene Taylor Trust, celebrating music's ability to act as a tool for engagement and social development. Performers from the Irene Taylor Trust's most recent Music in Prisons project will perform some of the songs they have written during the week, while as part of the Trust's Sounding Out programme, which bridges life inside and outside prison, performers from the band Multiplay will also be performing their original music.

These events are preceded in the morning by Songwriting Workshop (10.30am, Jerwood Kiln Studio) run by the Irene Taylor Trust, which gives you the chance as a complete newcomer to song writing to work in a group to create a new song from scratch. Meanwhile the organisation Fine Cell Work will be displaying the results of its work in prisons and sharing its experience of the rehabilitative power of needlework and stitching.

Throughout the day, HMP Warren Hill will be offering the opportunity to purchase unique pieces created from textiles and artwork to larger items from the woodwork and metal workshops at HMP Warren Hill. Skills learnt in these workshops form part of HMP Warren Hill's Enabling Environment, giving offenders the opportunity to learn skills which will help turn their lives around.

The day, says Reive, is an opportunity both for Snape Maltings to celebrate publicly 20 years' work with HMP Warren Hill, and for audience members to gain an insight into how the arts are being used in rehabilitation programmes.

Re:Lease is at Snape Maltings on Saturday August 24 2019, from 10.30am - 3.30pm. Tickets are free but booking is recommended. The Koestler Arts exhibition A Feeling We All Share is on throughout August. Information and booking: www.snapemaltings.co.uk, 01728 687110.

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