Over the course of ten weeks in 2011, Theatre Nemo’s facilitators worked with three families, each with a father in prison at HMP Addiewell, in a creative workshop. The families developed short animated films.
This was a pilot project that, to the best of Theatre Nemo’s knowledge, was the first of its type anywhere in the UK.
It is with huge thanks to the The Big Lottery that this helpful project came to fruition.
As each workshop was versatile, they could be tailored to the needs of the individual within, and the family group as a whole. Theatre Nemo planned to do an animation project, because they require team-work and encourage the development of positive interaction.
Specifically, creating animation it is not something most people would generally do or have access to and is therefore entirely new for participants and offered an opportunity to learn new skills.
Each family created a DVD to take home with them so that the benefits of this project could continue to be reinforced.
The feedback from the families and prison staff was exceptional. Attendees noted that levels of self-esteem and confidence were much improved.
This pilot shows that the arts are an important and powerful tool and the evaluation process brought new learning and established good practice for working with families and widening the scope of throughcare interventions.
Prison officers and management, who were initially skeptical about the process, said they were “converted” to supporting this initiative fully in future.