Clean Break was set up in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Still the only women’s theatre company of its kind, Clean Break has remained true to these roots, and we continue to inspire playwrights and captivate audiences with our groundbreaking plays on the complex theme of women and crime. For further information on the early years of the company click here.
Our theatre-based education and training programme is integral to our ethos. For more than three decades, we have delivered high-quality theatre-based courses, awarded qualifications and offered specialist support, all of which are critical for the rehabilitation of women with experience of the criminal justice system. Run in prisons and from our women-only building in Kentish Town, our training and education programme helps participants to develop personal, social, professional and creative skills that often lead to education and employment.
Clean Break’s women-only identity is crucial to our rationale. The treatment of women by the criminal justice system is one of the clearest demonstrations that our society is still unequal and that women are judged by different standards to men. Most women offenders have experienced male violence and are victims of crime, yet first-time women offenders are twice as likely as men to be sent to prison. Our vision is of a society where women are neither unjustly criminalised nor unnecessarily imprisoned, and we believe that theatre enables women to challenge their oppression by society in general and by the criminal justice system in particular.
Clean Break uses theatre to keep the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar, helping to reveal the damage caused by the failures of the criminal justice system. Through our unique repertory of new plays and our education programmes, we raise difficult questions, inspire debate, and help to effect profound and positive change in the lives of women with experience of the criminal justice system.
Lucy joined Clean Break in 1997 as the company’s Executive Director. Her background in the arts since 1987 has included a number of roles in organisations with political, social and educational values with the common thread of arts creating change in society. Prior to Clean Break, Lucy worked for the Community Media Association, People Dancing – the Foundation for Community Dance, and Eastern Arts Association (now Arts Council).
Lucy is a trustee of the Almeida Theatre and has held a number of past trustee positions including Vice-Chair of the Independent Theatre Council (2001-2007). She received an MBE for her services to drama in 2004.
In her role as Head of Operations, Khazana manages Building facilities, HR, our people strategy and business planning alongside the rest of the Senior Management Team. She has been passionate about working in the criminal justice sector since the publication of the Corston Report. She has worked as a co-ordinater for Education, Training and Employment projects and has managed both counselling and a peer advocate services in the past. She is delighted to have joined the Clean Break team.
Helen joined Clean Break in September 2001, having had several years’ experience of working as a stage and production manager within the arts and social inclusion field. After gaining a diploma in Technical Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College, Helen worked for several theatre companies including Trestle, Half Moon, Theatre Centre and Spare Tyre before joining Theatre Venture – a community arts organisation in east London – as Production Manager and then as General Manager. Helen has extensive skills and experience in financial and administrative management and in producing high quality inclusive theatre and arts. Helen is also a Fellow of Rose Bruford College.
Anna has been working in the field of theatre and social change for over twenty five years, specialising in theatre and education with marginalised groups in the UK and abroad. She has been with Clean Break since 2002 as the Head of Education, leading the company’s community based work with women in the criminal justice system and women at risk of entering it. Anna is the author of Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment: a practical handbook in creating issue based theatre with young people facing disadvantage. She has an MA in Arts Education and a PGCert in Race and Ethnic relations. She is a regular visiting lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and since 2006 she has been a trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict: a UK based national charity specialising in youth and conflict.
Kim Evans was an award-winning documentary filmmaker before becoming a senior executive at the BBC and then Arts Council England. Throughout her career she has been involved in arts projects that challenge perceptions and increase our understanding of each other’s lives. She now works in the cultural sector as a consultant and is a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and a member of the Parole Board. Kim was awarded an OBE in 2007 for her services to the arts.
Susan is a chartered accountant. She works as an independent strategy and change consultant in the arts and culture. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Deborah Coles is Director of INQUEST and leads its strategic policy and legal work. She has considerable expertise of working to prevent the deaths and ill treatment of people in all forms of detention, and for more effective learning and accountability. She is consulted by government, parliamentarians, and other stakeholders at a national and international level. She is a regular media commentator and has advised on radio and TV documentaries and theatre productions. She is also a member of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody and a trustee of Women in Prison and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize.
Doreen is Deputy Director of Black Cultural Archives. She is a Clore Fellow and an accredited coach (Performance Coach Training Ltd & Relational Dynamics 2009), and has over 20 years senior leadership experience gained working in the cultural and community development sectors.
Jude Boyles has been Director of Freedom from Torture North West since 2003. Prior to establishing FFT in Manchester, Jude worked as a practitioner in a mental health crisis service for 11 years. Jude has been involved in feminist campaigns and organisations for the last 30 years and a trustee of Clean Break Theatre Company for 8 years. Jude has had a number of articles and chapters published in books and therapy journals on psychological therapy with survivors of torture.
Tanya has a wealth of experience working within the criminal justice and women's sector, having worked at Nacro, Women in Prison, Startup, User Voice and now delivering a problematic substance use project at Nia for women who have experienced domestic or sexual violence. Tanya is currently at Birkbeck working towards a Counselling qualification.
Suzanne Bell is New Writing Associate and Dramaturg at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. She oversees the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Britain’s biggest playwriting competition. She has worked with a range of playwrights including Chloe Moss, Vivienne Franzmann, Anna Jordan and Bryony Lavery. She was the first Literary Manager to be appointed to the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. She was dramaturg on Unprotected, winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
Despina Tsatsas is a theatre producer with experience in both the charitable and commercial theatre sectors. She is currently Executive Producer at Punchdrunk International, and a trustee of The Laura Case Trust and Company Three.
Alice is a finance professional, and is currently Associate at Social Finance. Alice chairs Clean Break’s Development Committee, and was named Young Board Member of the Year at the 2013 Arts in Business Awards.
Denise has a varied background in law and policy. She has been active in policy development surrounding violence against women and enjoys engaging with key stakeholders. With a keen interest in the criminal justice system, she has undertaken pro bono work with prisoners facing capital punishment abroad
Sonali Naik is a barrister specialising in immigration and asylum law and practises from Garden Court Chambers, a well-known set at the forefront of human rights work. She also sits on the elected advisory Council of Liberty (NCCL), is a trustee of the Immigrants' Aid Trust and a trustee of Freedom From Torture.
Lucy is a playwright and screenwriter. She was Clean Break's resident writer from 2007 to 2008. Her credits include Tinderbox (Bush Theatre, 2008), Hedda (Gate, 2008), it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now (Clean Break at the Arcola Theatre, 2009, joint winner of the John Whiting Award), Beauty and the Beast and Hansel and Gretel (co-devised with Katie Mitchell, National Theatre, 2010/2012), small hours (co-written with Ed Hime, Hampstead Theatre 2011), NSFW (Royal Court, 2012), Chimerica (Almeida and West End, 2013, winner of the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Award for Best Play and the Susan Smith Blackburn Award) and The Children (Royal Court, 2016). Her television credits include Skins (Channel 4) and The Smoke (Sky One).
We’re always on the lookout for people to join our year-round Volunteer programme, which takes in everything from workshop skills and arts administration to catering and gardening. You’ll get the opportunity to develop your skills and confidence in a welcoming environment, while also learning more about the way we work. To find out more, come along to one of our regular Volunteer Days or email Samantha McNeil, our Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7482 8600
"There is a positive energy about the place which makes it a lovely place to work."
Education Volunteer, February 2017
We currently have no staff vacancies, but are looking for volunteers. We're actively recruiting for two catering volunteers and a volunteer yoga instructor – please see below for details on how to apply.
Clean Break is an equal opportunities employer, and we aim to maintain a diverse and inclusive working environment for our women-only team*. We’re always particularly keen to hear from Black, Asian and minority ethnic women, who are currently under-represented on our team, and from women who have experience of the criminal justice system. We guarantee that all applicants who disclose that they have an offending background or are disabled will be invited for an interview if they demonstrate that they meet the essential criteria for the role.
* Clean Break is exempt from the Equality Act 2010 on the basis that the gender of our staff is an Occupational Requirement. For details, please refer to the Equality Act 2010, Schedule 9, Part 1: Occupational Requirements.