In conversation with playwright Winsome Pinnock and Hibiscus founder, Olga Heaven MBE
Join award-winning playwright and trustee of Clean Break, Winsome Pinnock, and founder of Hibiscus, Olga Heaven MBE to discover the creative process behind writing Mules, a play about the experience of drug trafficking through the eyes of women in the UK and Jamaica.
First performed at the Royal Court Theatre in April 1996, Mules is featured in the ‘I am a theatre’: 40 years of Clean Break exhibition as a key example of our approach to commissioning plays in the 1990s. Winsome’s first commission for Clean Break, Mules is now performed world-wide and she has gone on to become one of the UK’s most celebrated Black British playwrights.
Mules follows two sisters in Jamaica and a young woman in London who are approached by the same powerful drug runner to be her ‘mules’ - to carry drugs onto aeroplanes in order to smuggle them across borders. As part of her research, Winsome worked with Hibiscus, a voluntary sector organisation that supports foreign nationals, and black, minority ethnic and refugee groups serving a custodial sentence, released into the community, or returned to their home country. Winsome spent time in both Jamaica and the UK researching the experiences of women in prison there and running creative writing workshops with them.
This event is part of the digital events programme for Clean Break's exhibition, ‘I am a theatre’: 40 years of Clean Break Theatre Company, celebrating four decades of creating ground-breaking theatre on women’s experience of the criminal justice system. The live exhibition takes place at Swiss Cottage Gallery from 24 June - 31 July 2021.
The exhibition and events are made possible by support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts and Humanities Research Council. This funding was received to celebrate Clean Break's 40th anniversary year, to document our heritage by: establishing a publicly accessible archive of our work at the Bishopsgate Institute; conducting oral history interviews; creating a digital timeline and exhibitions to share its story.