Lock Down is now up and running!
This is our brand new play for 2020. Lock Down follows the friendship between Ron, an elderly lifer in a Cat B jail and Kathy, the new and very inexperienced Quaker prison chaplain. See the Lock Down page for more details.
First Review by John Lampen
A review of Journeymen Theatre’s new play, by John Lampen.
“That’s the system—NO SYSTEM!” This is the repeated cry of Ron, serving a life sentence, during Lynn and Dave Morris’ new drama, premiered to a full audience in Stourbridge Meeting House on 26 February. The play is packed with stories and incidents which make his case for him. They are all based on what the authors heard from prisoners, staff and chaplains during their extensive research. From my own recent visits to prisons and conversations there, I found it entirely accurate.
Yet this is not primarily a piece campaigning for prison reform. It simply and often humorously states the facts, refusing to demonise the individuals who have to make the system somehow work. Then it asks us to make up our own minds.
The play looks particularly at the increasing numbers of elderly male prisoners (mostly no threat to society) who will never be released, partly because of a logjam in the parole system, and partly because there is virtually no provision for them on release—some would certainly die on the streets. The oldest current inmate is 104, and the oldest person to be sentenced (for “historic” sexual abuse) is 101. Meanwhile the doors of prison cells are too narrow to admit a wheelchair, there are only two stairlifts in the whole system though prisoners need to move between floors for their medication and recreation, and the staff have no training in geriatric physical care, let alone dealing with dementia.
There are two characters: Ron, and Kathy who is a newly appointed Quaker prison chaplain with everything to learn when the play begins. The play is carried by their slowly developing relationship, as Ron enlightens her, taunts her, bickers, takes out his frustrations on her, and gradually comes to trust her good will and good sense. We learn as she learns from his long experience: the reduction in educational provision, and how prisoners now have to buy art and learning materials from their meagre earnings; how it may be worth becoming a Muslim or Jew simply to secure a better diet; and the cruelty of not allowing a man to attend the funeral of his grandmother, who was often the one steady caring influence in his life.
Ron is remarkably resigned to his situation. Indeed he gives up his right to parole, because he knows he is better where he is. Yet he sees the flaws and failings of the system, and puts them across to Kathy with sharp intelligence and wit. The audience laughed a great deal, and it was not a harrowing evening… Or perhaps it was, if we grasp the truth about this immensely expensive national institution, continually failing to deliver what it is set up to do, managed by arbitrary and often harsh decisions, and barely under control.
The play is not designed to offer solutions. But it reminds us that in the face of bad social structures, alongside the need of systemic reform, there is also the need to operate as humanely as possible within existing constraints, as Kathy does. Nationwide, prison reform is among the most unwelcome issues for a politician or media source to take up; I hope that this play, moving, funny, convincing and beautifully performed, will play its own small part in telling people that the system most of them support is neither effective nor humane.
Performances of Lock Down:
Wednesday February 26th, Stourbridge Quaker Meeting House, 7.30 pm
Saturday February 29th, Woodbrooke College, Birmingham, 7.30 pm
Thursday March 5th, St Laurence Church Hall, Stroud, 7.30 pm
Saturday April 25th, Friends House, Euston Road, 2 pm
Saturday June 6th, Bournville Quaker Meeting House, 7.30pm
Friday, October 9th, John Storer House, Loughborough, 7pm
Back Door Parole will be at the Goods Shed, Stroud Theatre Festival on October 2nd (9.30 pm), October 3rd (5pm) and October 4th (3 pm)
Red Flag Over Bermondsey Flies Again
After a four year break, we’re reviving our Ada Salter story ‘Red Flag Over Bermondsey’ for a couple of very special performances. One will mark the work on world poverty by ATD Fourth World on Saturday October 19th at 48, Addington Square, Southwark 3.30 pm) and the other is to raise funds and awareness of the local Stourbridge charity, Leslie’s Care Packages. This performance will at the Wollaston Studio Theatre on Friday November 8th t 7.30.
Our brand new show for 2019 is now available for booking. There is no cost for booking Rock And A Hard Place except our petrol costs in reaching you and returning home. We’re prepared to perform in any space and are fully equipped with our own sound and touring lighting rig. Also, never worry about audience numbers. We’ll perform equally happily for fifteen people in a room or 500 in a purpose-built space.
Written by Lynn Morris
Kayleigh is a talented teenager whose life should be full of promise. Instead, she finds herself in a cycle of domestic abuse from which there seems no escape until Aunty Jan helps her find a way out, after twenty long years of ‘put up and shut up’.
Based on a true story, together with the combined true life experiences shared by other women, the play explores the complex nature of domestic abuse, ranging from coercion in its many forms to women’s deaths at the hands of abusive partners.
Rock and A Hard Place also reveals the impact of funding cuts on the refuge system and on support available for women like Kayleigh and is an appeal to all of us to both recognise and highlight this major human rights issue in our own communities.
Commissioned by Gloucestershire Quakers, all profits from this play will be used to support the work of women’s refuges both in the Gloucester area and nationally.
Age range: 17+
Duration: 65 minutes (no interval)
Performance dates so far:
February 28th, Subscription Rooms, Stroud 7.30 pm
March 3rd, The Chantry Centre, Dursley 4pm
March 8th, the Sundial Theatre, Cirencester 7.30pm
Saturday April 27th, Wollaston Studio, Stourbridge Town Hall, 7.30 pm
Wednesday May 22nd, 1.30 pm, Halesowen College (closed performance)
May 26th, Friends House, Euston Rd, London BYM
May 31st, Kingston Quaker Centre, 7.30 pm.
September 14th, Cartmel Quakers 7pm
September 21st, Derby Quaker Meeting house 2pm
Showings at the Barnstaple Fringe Festival:
Thursday June 27th, The Castle Centre 6.30 pm
Friday June 28th, The Castle centre, 7pm
Saturday June 29th, The Castle Centre, 1.30 pm
Showings during National Quaker Week/ Domestic Abuse Awareness Month
Wednesday October 2nd, Cheltenham Quaker Meeting House 7.30pm
Friday October 4th, Forest of Dean Quakers , Minsterworth Village Hall, 7.30 pm
Thursday October 10th, Wombourne Library and Community Centre 7pm
Friday October 11th, Cadbury Hall, Frampton on Severn, 7.30 pm
Tuesday October 15th, Halesowen College, 7.30 pm
Wednesday October 23rd, Western Upstairs pub theatre, Leicester 7.30 pm
Monday November 25th, Barnstaple (venue and time tba)
Wednesday January 29th, Croydon Women’s Refuge AGM
Saturday February 8th, The Cygnet Theatre, Exeter, 2.30 and 7.30 pm
Friday February 14th, Wolverhampton Quaker Meeting House, 7.30 pm
Sunday March 1st, Bournemouth Quaker Meeting House, 1.15pm
Saturday March 14th. Woking Debates (time and venue tba)
Sunday March 15th, Chesterfield Quaker Meeting House, 2pm
Friday May 1st, Church Fenton Village Hall, 7.30 pm
Saturday May 9th, Bolton Quaker Meeting House (time tbc)
Friday May 22nd, Holy Trinity church, Minchinhampton, 7.30 pm
Thursday June 11th, Dundee Quaker Meeting House, 7pm
Audience Feedback from the first performance at Stroud Subscription Rooms:
‘Last night’s performance was very strong, fantastically researched and beautifully presented and we both felt emotionally shattered but rewarded afterwards. ‘
Audience Feedback from the Sundial Theatre, Cirencester
And the Beat Goes On………
Booking now open
Our 2018 show charts 300 years of nonviolent direct action by Quakers.
Nonviolent Direct Action has been part of the Quaker way for over three hundred years. It has always taken many forms from the power of the pen, through to practical measures verging on the subversive, and the sheer ingenuity of creative nonviolence.
Its purpose has always been clear: to challenge injustice and inequality, even that which is embedded within law; to oppose war; to speak truth to power. To do these things it may be necessary to unsettle and stimulate, or to put it another way, it’s sometimes necessary to make ‘beautiful trouble’.
And the Beat Goes On…. brings together Quaker men and women who have all in their way made waves and rocked the establishment boat, including the very early Abolitionists, the first known woman hunger striker, a Palestinian Quaker peace activist, and the Trident Ploughshares movement.
Told through sketches and monologues, And the Beat Goes On…. treats its range of characters with a combination of admiration and playful irreverence, in the true spirit of NVA.
Age range: 16 +
Duration: Approximately 70 minutes
This performance has been commissioned by John and Diana Lampen
There is no charge for performance but we welcome donations for our work with Seir Women’s Co-operative, West Bank, Palestine
Performance Dates so far:
April 3rd (Preview) Stourbridge Meeting House 3 pm
April 14th Stourbridge Meeting House 7.30 pm
June 22nd ‘Night of the Churches’ event, Hereford. Time tbc
September 8th, Derby Quaker Meeting House 2.30 pm
September 30th Taunton Meeting House (Matinee time tbc)
October 5th Chester Quaker Meeting House, 7. 30pm
October 7th Mansfield Quaker Meeting House, 1.30 pm
October 12th Cartmel Meeting House, 7.30 pm
October 13th Cartmel Meeting House (matinee time tbc)
October 14th Brigflatts Meeting House, 1.30 pm
October 19th Spiceland Meeting House, 7.30 pm
October 21st Bridgwater Arts Centre (matinee time tbc)
October 27th Sutton Coldfield Quaker Meeting House (3pm)
October 28th Bradford Quaker Meeting House 2pm
November 3rd Sands Film Studio 7.30 pm
November 4th Golders Green Meeting House 3pm
November 6th Bradford upon Avon, United Chapel (7pm )
November 8th, St. Lawrence’s School (2 shows)
November 9th Doncaster Quaker Meeting House, 7.30 pm
November 1oth, Friargate Meeting house 11.15 am
November 11th, Thirsk Quaker Meeting House (3pm)
November 17th Melville Theatre, Abergavenny 7.30 pm
November 26th, Quay Cafe, Newport, Isle of Wight, 7pm
December 2nd, Guildford Quaker Meeting House, 2pm
December 9th Little Theatre, Seaford, 2pm
February 2nd, Stourbridge Quaker Meeting House, 7.30 pm
February 3rd Huddersfield Quaker Meeting House 2pm
March 10th Chesterfield Quaker Meeting House 2pm
May 11th Bolton Quaker Meeting House 11am
June 16th, HMP Ashfield (closed performance)
Sunday May 3rd, Hertford Quaker Meeting House, 3pm
Sunday June 28th, Henley on Thames Quaker Meeting House, 7pm
Commissioned by QARN (Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
About The Bundle
Based closely on the story of a real woman and her three young children, The Bundle follows Adilah’s domestic persecution and denial of human rights in Chechnya.
Removed from her Russian homeland by her Chechen father, abducted into a forced marriage and then subjected to a life of servitude, she takes the ultimate risk in plotting her escape to the UK.
Here she finds a home but also encounters the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ with regard to asylum seekers and refugees.
The play moves from the tradition of the folk story to that of biting satire as it charts Adilah’s bid for freedom, safety and hope.
Age range: 16 +
Duration: Approximately 65 minutes
There is no charge for performance but we welcome donations for organisations working closely with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
Enquiries and bookings now being taken.
Follow this links to our most recent reviews of The Bundle at The Shop Front Theatre, Coventry June 2019:
Our first review
‘Last Saturday, Journeymen Theatre performed their latest creation, The Bundle, to a rapt audience at the QARN Conference at Woodbrooke. The Bundle is the story of Adilah, a Chechen woman who escapes to Britain with her children. She comes seeking freedom from an environment of oppression, brutality, exploitation. Adilah is a trained lawyer, trapped in a forced marriage and working in Moscow to pay off her husband’s gambling debts and keep her children safe. She makes it to Britain with her children and finds herself in a different trap.
The Bundle shows us some of the background to our inhospitable environment for asylum seekers and a sense of the head- dominated politics which have created our system. It’s funny, but it’s so sad. And the effects are demeaning for its victims – and for us.
Journeymen performances sit in your head and work. The play is good, quick-fire and funny, engaging. It draws you in, fills your head with images and thoughts. Go, but recognise the risk of becoming involved.
Will Adilah be allowed to stay? Will she be “removed” to Chechnya to be beaten to death? What about her children? Find a performance, watch, enjoy, think, grieve for our country. Thank you, QARN, thank you Journeymen (again).’
“I was very glad I had the opportunity to see two thought provoking plays, FEEDING THE DARKNESS, and THE BUNDLE. Just two actors, Lynn and Dave Morris managed to bring to life a huge cast of characters who gave us an extraordinary insight into the horrific experiences of people who are forced to flee from terrible situations in their own country only to find they have more mountains to climb when they reach our own shores. The welcome these desperate people receive is so cruel and so unnecessary. We call ourselves a civilised society. It is a misnomer and I am glad that these plays can help to educate us. I also hope that people with power to change the way human beings are treated in this country get the chance to see these plays. Who could not be moved?”
Glasgow Renfield St Stephens, National Asylum Seeker Week June 2017
Performance Dates so far:
Saturday March 4th 2017 7.30 pm at Stourbridge Quaker Meeting House, Scotts Road
Saturday March 11th 2017 8pm performance at Rose and Crown pub, Wordsley (part of a Hope not Hate event beginning at 7pm)
Saturday March 18th 2017 4.30 pm at Garstang Quaker Meeting House, PR3 1ZE
Wednesday May 3rd 7pm at All Saints Owen Room, Portsmouth PO1 4BT
Friday May 12th (time tbc) Wellingborough Friends Meeting House
Wednesday May 17th 7.30 pm Meeting Point House, Telford
Wednesday May 24th Part of Million Acts of Sanctuary event, All Saints Church Highertown, Truro, 7.30pm
Thursday May 25th, Marazion Friends Meeting House, 7.30 pm
Friday May 26th, Waterside Cafe, Penryn, 6pm (followed by a meal. Booking essential on 01326 374438)
Saturday May 27th, The Poly Falmouth, 7.30pm (Booking on 01326 319461)
Friday June 2nd 7.30pm Kingston upon Thames Quaker Centre
Sunday June 18th 1.30pm Wanstead Friends Meeting House
Tuesday June 20th 7pm Bull Street Friends Meeting House, Birmingham, 7.15pm
Thursday June 22nd + Feeding the Darkness, Renfield St Stephens, Glasgow 7.30pm
Friday June 23rd + Feeding the Darkness, Renfield St Stephens, Glasgow 7.30pm
Thursday June 29th-Sunday July 2nd, Baptist Hall, Barnstaple Fringe Fest (see Fringfest official website for details)
Friday July 7th 7pm United Church, St Margaret Street, Bradford upon Avon
Wednesday July 5th 8 pm The Place Theatre, Bedford
Saturday July 8th 7.30pm Bath Friends Meeting House, 7.30pm
Sunday July 9th 2017 2.30pm at Long Sutton Quaker Meeting House
Friday July 28th Derby Quaker Meeting House 7.30pm
Thursday July 27th Warwick University, Britain Yearly Gathering
Saturday August 26th Braziers Park School of Integrative Social Research, Oxfordshire (time tbc)
Saturday September 2nd Scarborough Friends Meeting House 2pm
Thursday September 7th St. Mary’s Church, Stottesdon 7pm
September 10th Conwy PeaceWorks Conwy Quaker Meeting house 2.30pm
September 15th 7.30pm Warrington Friends Meeting House
Sunday September 17th 1.30pm Leicester Friends Meeting House
Thursday September 28th, Univeristy of Northhampton Park Campus, Large Lecture Theatre, 7pm.
Sunday October 1st 2pm Ealing Broadway Quaker Meeting House
Tuesday October 3rd Warwick Friends Meeting House 7.30pm
Tuesday October 5th Sibford School (closed performance)
October 5th 7.30 pm The Old Police Station, Chipping Camden
Friday October 6th HMP Usk (closed performance)
Friday October 6th Melrose Theatre, Abergavenny-7.30 pm
Sunday October 8th 2017 1.30pm at Mansfield Quaker Meeting House
Thursday October 12th Jesus Lane Friends Meeting House, Cambridge-7.30 pm
Saturday October 14th 7pm Saffron Waldon Friends Meeting House
Sunday October 15th 3pm Stansted Friends Meeting House
Tuesday October 17th The Hive ( Library building), Worcester 7.30pm
Friday October 20th Doncaster Friends Meeting House-7.30 pm
Saturday October 21st Lancaster Friends Meeting House 11.15 am
Friday October 27th Reading Friends Meeting House 7.30 pm
Saturday October 28th Blackheath Friends Meeting House-7.30 pm
Friday November 3rd Holy Trinity church, Skipton 7.30pm
Monday November 6th, Trinity Rooms, Stroud 7.30 pm
Friday November 10th Wolverhampton Friends Meeting house, 7.30 pm
Saturday November 18th, Brentford and Isleworth Quaker Meeting House, 7.30pm
Sunday November 19th, Brentford and Isleworth Quaker Meeting House (matinee performance 2pm)
Friday November 24th St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester 7.30 pm (doors open at 7pm)
Saturday November 25th Leeds Carlton Hills Friends Meeting House 7.30pm
Sunday December 10th, Barnes Close, Birmingham 3pm
Saturday December 16th, St Peter’s Church, Lapal, Halesowen 7.30pm
Performance dates for 2018-
Friday January 26th , St Chad and St. Marks, Wolverhampton WV3 0EX 7pm
Tuesday January 30th, Helland Lecture Theatre University of Worcester. 2.15pm
Wednesday February 7th Staff Training event, Wigan Social Services
Saturday March 3rd, Unitarian Chapel, Kendal 4pm
Tuesday March 6th Parish Centre, Ulverston, 10.30 am
Saturday March 10th, Bridgend Quakers, Carnegie House
Tuesday March 13th Hereford Quaker Meeting House, 7.30 pm
Friday March 23rd St. Pauls Church, Churchside (central Chichester), 7.30 pm
Saturday March 24th, Walsall Centre for the Deaf, 7.30pm
Sunday April 8th, Barnes Close, Birmingham 3pm
April 26th Bishop Walsh Catholic School, Sutton Coldfield (closed performance for 6th Form students)
Saturday May 12th Winchmore Hill Meeting House, London N21 1LE, 7.30 pm
Sunday June 24th, Taunton Quaker Meeting House (matinee time tbc)
Wednesday June 20th, Cosham Baptist Church, Portsdown, 2pm
Saturday July 6th, Berkhampstead, (time and venue tbc)
Sunday September 16th Weston Super Mare Quaker Meeting House 2pm
Saturday September 29th Hertford Quaker Meeting House (time tbc)
Monday November 5th De Montfort University 1pm (venue space tbc)
Friday November 16th Welsh National Temple of Peace,Cardiff 7.30 pm
Tuesday November 19th SYDNI Centre, Leamington Spa, 11.30 am
Thursday November 29th Guildhall, Leicester, 5pm
Thursday January 31st, Halesowen College (closed performances)
Friday March 1st 2019 Wollaston Room, Stourbridge
National Refuge Week performances:
Tuesday June 18th, Nottingham Quaker Meeting house 7pm
Wednesday June 19th, United Reform Church Hall, Church Stretton, 7.30 pm
Thursday June 20th, Shop Front theatre, Coventry, 1.00 pm and 6pm
Other booked performances:
Sunday October 6th, Harrogate Quaker Meeting House (time tbc)
Thursday October 17th, Chelmsford Quaker Meeting House, 6pm
Thursday October 24th, the Western Upstairs pub theatre, Leicester 7.30pm
Friday June 5th, Hereford Cathedral (The Night of the Churches event) time tba
Feeding the Darkness……..
Shining a Light on……..State Sanctioned Torture…through Story, Song and Poem
This new show, commissioned through Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture is now available for bookings.
Lasting 65 minutes in total, Feeding the Darkness takes its title from the words of James Naylor and is presented as a series of ‘ministeries’ (monologues, duologues and poems) written from extensive research into state-sanctioned torture-and hopefully challenging our ignorance and avoidance of this disturbing aspect of humanity.
See Feeding the Darkness at the following venues 2019:
July 6th Oxford Quaker Meeting House 7.30 pm
July 7th Hertford Quaker Meeting House 3pm
July 11th Bull Street Quaker Meeting House, Birmingham 7pm
September 23rd The Place, Bedford, 8.30 pm
January 24th, Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, 7.30 pm
February 21st, Stockport Quaker Meeting House, 7pm