In 2006, Theatre Nemo worked with prisoners at HMP Barlinnie again, producing a performance of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
This project was the first with prisoners to work towards a performance with a pre-written script.
Animal Farm was chosen as the performance because it is full of social commentary that is as current today as in 1945, when it was written. It is also written in a format which lends itself to new material being added.
Using a pre-written script allowed the cast to work on developing characters, interpreting meaning and to create new writing of their own. As the group gained confidence, more challenging tasks were introduced, involving short scenes that they would direct themselves in small groups and then perform to the other groups. Other tasks involved us giving the group a short description of a scene which they would then develop into a short script. Building up these skills gave the group a strong foundation to move on to tackling a play.
Artistically the group were immensely successful in their aim of staging a production of Animal Farm. The group that eventually took to the stage were a strong group of actors. Throughout the performance they remained strong in the portrayal of their characters, focus and energy were consistent, and the audience remained captured throughout.
Below, are some comments given by those who saw Animal Farm:
“Outstanding performance; all the cast showed a commitment to the play! What an effective way in how actors
can display emotions in a safe environment. This will help confidence and know that they have this ability when
back in the community, which can give a clear focus. Congratulations to all involved and well done!”
“An excellent play; really well adapted and very competent actors as well.”
“A very moving performance, well done to everyone involved!”