Previous Prison Projects

barlinnie art

Since 2004, Theatre Nemo has set up various programmes in prisons across Scotland. Projects in this area focus on bridging the gap between prison and community.

Theatre Nemo engages with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in prison. They feel they do not have any control over how they think or feel. By using the arts to engage and stimulate prisoners' natural creativity, work in prisons can produce amazing results.

Many of the people Theatre Nemo works with have low self-esteem; they have a negative view of themselves and the world around them. This can cause depression and poor mental health. Having a low opinion of themselves can prevent them from trying to succeed, creating a vicious circle of re-offending, unemployment and long-term poverty.

Participants in our prison work learn to trust others to keep them safe, and they in turn are trusted to keep others safe. Team building, working together to get positive results, we find the participants start to help each other; the ones who can read and write help the others who struggle, whereas before they would have made fun of them.

One of the things that the prisoners tell us repeatedly is how having a purpose, being able to use their experience to help others, makes them feel useful, needed and part of something good.

We understand that upon leaving prison, former prisoners can find life very difficult and frequently find themselves back in the same or worse situation than before, which is one of the reasons for such high re-offending rates. Most prisoners don’t want to be in that situation, but are trapped, as there are very few opportunities for change. Theatre Nemo aims to change this

Our work comes highly recommended by all the prisoners, governors and prison staff we have worked with.

Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, has said that Theatre Nemo is an example of what needs to be done in prisons, in Scotland.

On the left hand tab, you can find a list of projects that we have completed in Scottish prisons.

Click on them to find out more.