Charged is an epic moment for Clean Break. A moment when thirty-one years of making theatre and delivering theatre education with thousands of women come together through six new and powerful stories. These stories reveal the damage meted out by neglectful families, abusive partners, the criminal justice system and a society that too often turns away and shuns these women. Labelled as offenders, prisoners, inmates, criminals and failures, they are also mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, friends and lovers. Charged is a celebration of these women’s courage, dignity, strength and endurance.
Charged is also a celebration of women as theatre artists. This production brings together, for the first time, six extraordinary women playwrights. Four come from a long line of writers that have been commissioned by the company: Chloë Moss (This Wide Night), E V Crowe (A Just Act), Winsome Pinnock (Mules) and Rebecca Prichard (Yard Gal). Two – Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Sam Holcroft – are new to Clean Break. Each playwright chose her own theme, met with women offenders and criminal justice practitioners as part of the research process, and wrote their individual contributions to Charged.
Chloë is a playwright and screenwriter. Her theatre credits include: SWEATBOX (Clean Break, 2015 & 2019), RUN SISTER RUN (Paines Plough/Soho Theatre/Sheffield Theatres, 2019), FATAL LIGHT (Soho Theatre, 2010 & 2011), THIS WIDE NIGHT (Clean Break/Soho Theatre & Off Broadway, 2008, winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn prize), CATCH (Royal Court, 2006) and HOW LOVE IS SPELT (Bush Theatre, 2004, & New York’s Summer Play Festival, 2005). She is currently under commission to the Royal Court and Headlong Theatre.
The whole cast of actresses are mesmerising, as they manage to embody everything from 9 year old girls, to teenage gang members, to mothers lost without their inmate daughters.
Enterprisingly staged around three different spaces in Soho Theatre. Audiences climb upstairs to the studio for two works in domestic settings, and go down into the basement bar for plays that explore underground experiences.
Sarah Hemming - Financial Times
Divided into two programmes, Charged is a blisteringly powerful meditation on female experience not only behind bars but on the streets, in rehab, as mothers and as part of the police force.
Maddy Costa - The Guardian