"Now You See It" Performance at HMP Perth

On Tuesday 3rd March, men from HMP Perth took part in a Royal Conservatoire Scotland (RCS) performance called “Now You See It”. The play was an original piece of work by the participants including magic tricks, original writing and songs.

The piece invited those watching to challenge their perceptions in a creative and thoughtful way. The play was performed in front of families in the afternoon and other offenders in the evening. This is Perth’s 3rd performance with the RCS and one previous participant who has since returned to the community came back to watch the year’s performance. The RCS has been working with HMP Perth for 15 years now, first with annual residencies, then weekly drama classes, and in the last 3 years, full staged performances.

Deborah Richardson-Webb, Head of Performance Pedagogy at the RCS, said “The performances have gone from strength to strength over the years. It's wonderful to see the visitors' centre transformed into a theatre space. The fact that all the material came from the men themselves testifies to their creativity. The subject of this performance was a thoughtful interrogation into what happens when all our 'tricks' fail us, all our strategies let us down and we realise there is no 'magic' solution, only ourselves to put things right. I think enquiries into such themes through the medium of drama is vital in a prison context, where the transformative role of the arts can make a real contribution to the rehabilitation of offenders."

Alan Arundel, Head of Offender Outcomes at HMP Perth, said the event was “an excellent example of what can be achieved working in collaboration with partners to enhance the assets of our offenders. The performance was touching, imaginative and very well received by the audience.”