CLOSED The Stretch – play exploring prison culture heads to Manchester

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A play exploring budget cuts, failing systems and the privatisation of rapidly deteriorating prisons is heading to Manchester this March.

The Stretch, which was originally developed as a 15 minute play for JB Shorts has been extended by TV writer Joe Ainsworth whose credits include Holby City, New Tricks and Brookside, into an hour long play that will be performed at 53Two.

The Stretch follows the story of Lee – a prisoner who is finding his way through a ten year stretch inside after making just one terrible mistake. His powerful and poignant story will take you through the highs and lows of prison life and how it affects both Lee and those nearest to him. The play, which is being produced by Manchester based MAP Productions, will explore the issues surrounding support given to those incarcerated and those trying to rehabilitate and reinstate themselves into society, as well as looking at the way in which people in prison deal with the consequences of their decisions in a failing prison system.

Simon Naylor, who directed the piece in its original 15 minute form, is thrilled to be directing this new extended version:

“The first time I directed this piece, in its shorter format, I knew Joe had written something special. James, our lead actor felt the same and this combined passion to discuss the problems that prisons and their inmates face, as well as highlighting to a younger audience that decisions last beyond the instant they are made in, was all we needed to move the piece forward. It’s an incredibly important piece of writing and now with Arts Council funding we get to really let fly!”

The play, which received rave reviews during JB Shorts, has been written with the input of the pastoral team at HMP Forest Bank and is based on true experiences.

Described as ‘a sensory journey using spoken word, movement and music to spark discussion about a subject all too present in the media and how one decision can change lives’, The Stretch promises to be a highlight of the Manchester theatre scene.

There will also be a charity fundraiser on Sunday 10th March where Manchester poet Argh Kid will work with Clinks, the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and Young identity to raise money for charities that support the rehabilitation of those convicted and offer support in prisons.

The Stretch will be performed at 53Two from 6th-15th March. Tickets are £10. 53Two also offer £2 unwaged tickets for anyone without employment as part of their commitment to making art accessible to all.

Fancy trying your luck? Enter our competition to win 2 tickets to The Stretch here

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