About Us — Clean Break



About Us

Clean Break was founded by two women in prison who believed in the power of theatre to transform lives.

Our vision is of a society where all women can realise their full potential, free from criminalisation. Through our unique work on stage, in prisons and in the community, we raise difficult questions, inspire debate, and help to effect profound and positive change in the lives of women who are criminalised.

On stage

Since 1979, Clean Break has been the only women’s theatre company of its kind, and we continue to inspire playwrights and captivate audiences with our ground-breaking plays, keeping the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar.

We work with high-profile theatres to co-produce our plays, including the National Theatre, Royal Court, Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres. This gives us a powerful platform to share authentic stories which reveal the damage caused by the criminal justice system and reimagine ways of thinking about women and criminalisation.

In prisons and in the community

We use theatre to transform the lives of women who have experienced the criminal justice system, or who are at risk of entering it due to the challenges they are facing, such as mental ill health or problematic substance use.

Our theatre workshops and projects in prisons and in the community build women’s confidence, resilience and wellbeing, alongside new creative skills.  

We run our core Members Programme from our building in Kentish Town, London, which is available to women aged 18 and above. The programme offers a range of workshops and performance opportunities led by acclaimed women theatre artists, underpinned by comprehensive wrap-around support in a trauma-informed setting.

Why women only?

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, that women are judged by different standards to men and that women’s position in society often means the impact of criminalisation is disproportionate.

We believe that theatre enables women to challenge their oppression by society in general and by the criminal justice system in particular.

We are a trans inclusive organisation, and we welcome non-binary people who actively want to be part of a women’s theatre company.

Our commitment to anti-racism

Clean Break believes that in order to achieve the liberation we envisage for all women, an active commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression must be at the heart of all we do. This commitment is essential when working to undo the harm caused by the criminal justice system, which disproportionately targets and impacts Black women.

Since 2020, Clean Break has been on a journey of anti-racist action and accountability, skilfully guided by consultants darvaja. Learn more about our commitment to building an anti-racist practice into our organisation in this statement.

Our Values

Our core company values guide and shape how we work. These values are the foundations to all that we do, from how we operate our building in Kentish Town, to the artistic work we present on stages across the UK:

Collaboration, Compassion, Courage, Creativity, Equity

Learn more

Explore Clean Break’s history in our digital archive and timeline.  

Discover more about Clean Break on our Knowledge Hub, where you will find videos and articles about our work, as well as our audio plays and films.

For more information about women and the criminal justice system please visit Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison’s websites. 

Our People

Lakesha Arie-Angelo
Associate Artistic Director
Tracey Anderson
Support Manager
Shabina Cannon
Operations Assistant
Emily Clarke
Development Manager
Sophie Connolly
Participation Manager
Alice Dryden
Operations Manager
Nadia Dorr
Communications Manager
Maya Ellis
Maggie Fowles
Development Manager
Jade Greene
Development Co-ordinator
Maryam Harvey
Finance Assistant
Koonyin Ho
Admin & Support Worker
Elizabeth Hollingshead
Operations Assistant
Saffi Jones
Head of Finance and Operations
Anja Kulessa
Mana Maye
Finance Manager
Samantha McNeil
Volunteer Manager
Michaella Moore
Operations Assistant
Linda Morgans
Sally Muckley
Head of Development & Communications
Dezh Zhelyazkova

Our Board

Development Committee

Elise Brown
Freya Clarke
Jennifer Coles
Sarah Jane Dent
Sophie Fiori
Catherine Hinwood
Alison Jefferis (Chair)
Sarah Jeffs
Gillian Jones
Rebecca Urang

Our Patrons

Zawe Ashton
Lord Paul Boateng
Dame Judi Dench DBE
Sharon Duncan-Brewster
Sir Richard Eyre CBE
Baroness Helena Kennedy KC
Lucy Kirkwood
Kevin McGrath OBE
Michelle Greenidge
Ann Mitchell, Hon.Doc.of Arts UEL
Sonali Naik KC
Yve Newbold LLB
Baroness Usha Prashar CBE
Dr Joan Scanlon
Dame Janet Suzman DBE
Dame Emma Thompson DBE
Dame Harriet Walter DBE
Lia Williams


Because our work is about highlighting women’s experiences and providing gender-specific services to women, all of our positions are open to women only (exempt under Equality Act 2010 Schedule 9, part 1).

Working with us

Our team members are passionate about social and racial justice and about improving the lives of women with lived experience of the criminal justice system. We believe strongly in the power of theatre to transform lives.

We know that women’s careers take many different paths for all sorts of different reasons. We support and celebrate this. We strongly believe that your lived experience enhances what you bring to a professional setting, and we want women from a broad range of diverse backgrounds with a cross section of skills, experiences and narratives to extend and develop how we work.

Please see our current vacancies below, or sign up to our mailing list to find out when we are recruiting.

Volunteering with us

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 Manager, at volunteering@cleanbreak.org.uk or call 020 7482 8600. 

Current Vacancies & Volunteer Call-outs

Communications Volunteer
Clean Break’s Communications team are looking for a volunteer to support the upkeep of their social media channels and website.

Keep up to date with Clean Break news, productions, training and more.