'Seeing myself through the lens of a character'. Butler Trust Commendee Rowan Mackenzie on forming a theatre company in a prison.

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By David Jones Naomi Murphy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Rowan Mackenzie is both academic and practitioner. Her doctoral research on Creating Space for Shakespeare with Marginalised Communities considered how Shakespeare can be appropriated by people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, people who are incarcerated and people who have experienced homelessness. She is also Artistic Director of Shakespeare UnBard, having worked in English prisons since 2017, founding theatre companies (The Gallowfield Players and Emergency Shakespeare). The theatre companies are run entirely collaboratively with each actor having equal ownership, encouraging them to develop positive autonomy, self-confidence and transferable skills. She works with a wide-ranging population including those serving life sentences and those convicted of sexual offences. She has won numerous awards for the quality and effectiveness of her work including Prisoner Learning Alliance Outstanding Individual, Worshipful Company of Educators Inspirational Educator for Shakespeare and is currently shortlisted for the prestigious a Butler Trust Commendation. She is also a Trustee for 1623Theatre and Shakespeare consultant for Blue Apple Theatre. She has published and spoken about her work nationally and internationally in fields including criminology, prison education, Shakespeare, social justice and applied theatre and co-organised the annual Applying Shakespeare Symposiums. She is in the process of establishing a theatre company for those released from prison and also works with children of incarcerated parents.

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