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.
Erin Gavaghan is an experienced executive arts manager who has worked within both new writing theatre and contemporary dance / choreography.
Erin has been Executive Director and joint CEO of Clean Break since October 2018. Previously at Siobhan Davies Dance, she held several roles; most recently as Executive Director (from 2014). Prior to that, she was the General Manager of Soho Theatre (2008-2012), having also followed a path of progression from Front of House Manager (2005-2007) and Deputy General Manager (2007-2008). Since moving to London from Canada in 2000, Erin has also worked at the Royal Albert Hall as the Stewards Administrator and Natural History Museum managing catering services.
Erin studied English Literature and Theatre (Directing) at the University of Victoria (Canada) and attained an MA in Arts Policy and Management from Birkbeck in 2005. She has a passion for life-long learning.
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.
Róisín McBrinn is a theatre director with over fifteen years experience working in the UK, Ireland and internationally. She has been with Clean Break since 2016 as the Head of Artistic Programme and during that time has directed Joanne (Soho Theatre and RSC) and House/Amongst The Reeds (Yard Theatre) for the company. She was formerly Associate Director at Sherman Cymru where she oversaw the commissioning and developing of new Welsh writing. 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). She has developed new work for Soho Theatre, The National Theatre, The Bush, The Abbey and Sherman Theatre. This summer she is directing a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Snapper for Dublin's Gate 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