Safe Ground - Using drama to educate prisoners and young people at risk in the community


A challenge, an eye-opener, a conversational ride and a two-way education

Nana Ocran writes about her first day of teaching at HMP Wandsworth as part of the Transitions course.


The first day of creation

Goodfellas, Scarface, Rain Man, Saturday Night Fever, No Country For Old Men….These are some of the cinematic shout-outs that came from the Transitions group, who are part of Safe Ground’s latest creative project. The aim is to take the imaginative words and thoughts of new ‘scribes’ at HMP Wandsworth, fuse their plots, scenarios and nuggets of dialogue with newly-honed script-writing skills, to ultimately produce a 5-minute short for a Wandsworth and wider viewing public. The class was a heady mix of talkers, listeners and unique characters whose group and personal take on horror, gangster, sci-fi, road movie, film noir and romcom genres were nudged into editorial action by clips from The Untouchables to Bride of Frankenstein and Thelma and Louise, with a roll call of personal favourite actors – from Dustin Hoffman to Javier Bardem – thrown in for as part of the day’s movie-themed conversation. ‘You’re asking us to talk about feelings?’ was one response to our attempt to tap their responses to our selected film clips, but subsequent writing revealed a sharp talent and appetite for revealing humour, suspense, biography and a cluster of quiet inner voices that emerged after putting heads, thoughts, voices, pens and paper together from the snug interior of our designated learning room. A challenge, an eye-opener, a conversational ride and a two-way education. Roll on day two….



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