‘Before this workshop I did not believe in hope. When I came here the first day they said ‘hope’ I said ‘no’. Now, if I ever get asked to come to another workshop I won’t second guess it, I will come because I might learn and grow; I might become a better person, a better actor, and I can learn something from it.’ — Luke (participant, Geelong)
The first program of OUT ALIVE workshops has now concluded, with three successful week-long programs held in Castlemaine, Geelong and Shepparton btween 2021–23. Partnering with Regional Arts Victoria and the Victorian Legal Services board, this project was assisted with support from The Torch, Platform Arts, and Riverlink Eastbank to deliver supported workshops in an experimental model that facilitated a unique exchange between artists and ex-offenders; considering the parole system, and the challenges prisoners face when reintegrating into society post prison. At the conclusion of each workshop the community was invited to an intimate showing, which involved a sharing of trust exercises and mock parole interviews, improvised between the actors and ex-offenders. Audiences also had the opportunity to hear from experts in the criminal justice system — the ex offenders themselves — and to meet and chat afterwards in an informal setting.
As this phase of OUT ALIVE wraps up, the creative team are continuing to consolidate research and collateral, with more to be shared soon.