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, she had a background in arts leadership roles with a focus on organisations which create change in society. She has also 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 is a member of the International Women’s Forum. 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.
Róisín is a theatre director with over fifteen years experience working in the UK, Ireland and internationally. She is the Head of Artistic Programme of Clean Break Theatre Company where she commissions, develops and directs theatre inspired by the experiences of women within and around the criminal justice system, by leading female writers. For Clean Break she has directed 'Joanne' (Soho Theatre and RSC) and 'House/Amongst The Reeds' (Yard Theatre).
Róisín has directed for the Donmar Warehouse ('Noveccento'), Sheffield Theatres ('Afterplay'), West Yorkshire Playhouse (Yerma), Prime Cut ('Villa/Discurso'), The Abbey Theatre ('No Escape', 'Perve', 'Heartbreak House') and Sherman Theatre ('Before it Rains', 'Sleeping Beauties' and 'It's A Family Affair'). She has developed new work for Soho Theatre, The National Theatre, The Bush, The Abbey and Sherman Theatre with writers including Katherine Chandler, Stacey Gregg, Theresa Ikoko and Ursula Rani Sarma.
This summer she is directing a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle's 'The Snapper' for Dublin's Gate Theatre.
Her awards include the Quercus Award (National Theatre) and the Young Vic Jerwood Young Directors' Award.
Anna Herrmann has been working in the field of theatre and social change for twenty seven 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 award winning work with women in the criminal justice system and women at risk of entering it. Anna is co-author of Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment: A Practical Handbook for Creative Drama Work with Young People (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).
She has an MA in Arts Education from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a PG Cert (Distinction) in Race and Ethnic relations. She is a regular visiting lecturer on Applied Theatre courses at Universities across the Country and between 2006 and 2018 was a trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict; a UK based national charity specialising in youth and conflict. Anna sits on the Steering Group of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and is also a trained coach and regularly mentors artists in participatory settings.
Laura joined Clean Break in 2014 with a background in theatre producing and general management. Prior to Clean Break she worked for Frantic Assembly, Hofesh Shechter Company and 59 Productions and continues to work as a freelance project manager, most recently for Manchester International Festival. Laura was co-founder and Executive Producer for ThickSkin, specialising in UK and International touring.
She is passionate about arts engagement and enabling access to the arts for everyone.
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 an independent consultant and chartered accountant working in the arts and culture. She is currently studying for a masters in innovation, creativity and leadership at Cass Business School.
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 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.
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 Nia with women experiencing domestic and sexual violence and using substances problematically. Currently, Tanya is working as a Recovery Practitioner for Young People at Cranstoun.
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 and is currently Executive Producer at Punchdrunk International. She is also a trustee of The Laura Case Trust and was a volunteer at Holloway Women's Prison until its recent closure.
Alice is a Strategic Consultant who works with philanthropists, charities and social enterprises. Alice chairs Clean Break’s Development Committee, and was named Young Board Member of the Year at the 2013 Arts in Business Awards.
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).
Sabba works in the banking sector and has a particular interest in diversity and inclusion in finance. She currently holds the role of Senior Vice President for EMEA Tax Business Advisory at Citi.
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 email@example.com 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