An exhibition of our archive, celebrating 40 years of Clean Break.
Since its founding by two women who met in prison in 1979, Clean Break has produced ground-breaking theatre which puts women’s voices at its heart and challenges injustice within and beyond the criminal justice system.
This exhibition celebrates Clean Break's 40-year history as a radical theatre company, documenting its heritage through previously unseen archival material and specially commissioned interviews and installations.
The 40-year retrospective will be co-designed by Miriam Nabarro and Liz Whitbread, a designer and Member of Clean Break. It will take place at Swiss Cottage Gallery in Camden—Clean Break’s home borough since the 1980s.
Alongside the exhibition, we will be launching a digital timeline on our website and an events programme of digital and live activity including a screening of the 1984 Channel 4 production of Clean Break co-founder Jacqueline Holborough’s play, Killers recorded for Channel 4 in 1984 and workshops led by prominent Clean Break artists.
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.
Book now for our exhibition events:
Creating Mules: In conversation with playwright Winsome Pinnock and Hibiscus founder, Olga Heaven MBE
Online on Thursday 1 July, 5-6.30pm
Killers: Live Stream and Post-Show Discussion with Clean Break founder & playwright,
Online on Wednesday 7 July, 6-8pm
Creating from Clean Break’s Archives with Paula Varjack
Online on Monday 19 July, 5:30-7pm
Voices From Prison
Online on Wednesday 28 July, 6pm
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.