"You can be more than what the system says you are." - 2013 Participant


THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Borallon Training and Correctional Centre)

A dozen men from Borallon Correctional and Training Centre staged one of Shakespeare's earliest and most rambunctious comedies, exploring friendship, love, honour, betrayal, and forgiveness. Play includes such saucy puns as "That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, if with his tongue he cannot win a woman".

The performances took place at the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre on Saturday June 30th. [More info]

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Kat Dekker, Silvan Rus, Liliana Macarone
  • Design: Mischa Rienthal
  • Photography: Hanne Andreson


ROMEO AND JULIET (Borallon Training and Correctional Centre)

QSE returned to the newly reopened Borallon with one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays, Romeo & Juliet. The cast of prisoners brought to life this tale of two young lovers, born into a conflict not of their making, whose loves and lives are chewed up by the violence around them. Passion, wit, sword-play, subterfuge, mystical potions, and a meddling monk! [More info]

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Kat Bhathena, Rachel Layt, Kat Dekker
  • Design: Mischa Rienthal
  • Photography: Anita Ware

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Southern Queensland Correctional Centre)

2017 was the first year QSE ran the Shakespeare Prison Project in multiple facilities. Working once again with inmates at the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, The Merchant of Venice was chosen and performed. A tale of friendship and love, this lighthearted comedy also posed big questions about justice, discrimination, and revenge. [More info]

  • Director: Kat Dekker
  • Facilitators: Sarah McGlade, Liliana Macarone, Silvan Rus
  • Design: Kaylee Gannaway
  • Photography: Hanne Andresen


MACBETH (Southern Queensland Correctional Centre)

The Scottish play, performed in a Queensland prison, to a soundscape of didgeridoo and electric guitar. 2016 saw the introduction of a second public performance, as well as performances for family, friends, and fellow inmates. [More info]

  • Director: Kat Dekker
  • Facilitators: Sarah McGlade, Kat Bhathena, Rachel Layt
  • Design: Madgalene Bufalino
  • Photography: Anita Ware


TWELFTH NIGHT (Southern Queensland Correctional Centre)

Shakespeare's comedy of confused love and mistaken identity. The cast's hard work, humour, and humanity were all evident, as they shared what they'd discovered about Shakespeare, and about themselves. As one man put it, reflecting on the performance: "the show might not have been perfect - but we were".

  • Director: Leah Sanderson
  • Facilitators: Sam Foster, Kat Dekker, Austin Caffin
  • Design: Madgalene Bufalino
  • Photography: Brodie Standen

The end of 2015 also saw SPP Founder Dr Rob Pensalfini publish a ground-breaking book Prison Shakespeare: For These Deep Shames and Great Indignities which includes a case study of SPP's work, as well as critical discussion of the phenomenon of Prison Shakespeare internationally. The book's publication garnered media attention for the project, including discussion on ABC radio, and articles in the Courier-Mail, the Brisbane Times, and UQ News.


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Southern Queensland Correctional Centre)

Lovers, faeries, and at least one ass.

An extremely successful Pozible crowd-funding campaign made the project possible that year, raising over $11,000 due to the support of 144 incredible donors.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Leah Sanderson, Zac Kelty, Kat Dekker
  • Design: Madgalene Bufalino
  • Photography: Brodie Standen


THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (Southern Queensland Correctional Centre)

A year of firsts! The first project held at the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, and the first comedy produced by the Shakespeare Prison Project. The project was supported financially by the Australia Council for the Arts, the University of Queensland's Vice Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Award, Serco, and three anonymous donors.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Leah Sanderson, Angel Kosch, Jo Franklin
  • Design: Patrick Shevlin
  • Photography: Benjamin Prindable


SELECT SCENES FROM SHAKESPEARE (Borallon Correctional Centre)

The 2011 cast chose to explore a variety of scenes from Shakespeare. Special assistance was received from guest facilitator Curt Tofteland of Shakespeare Behind Bars. The project received financial support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Queensland Corrective Services, and Serco.

For the first time, an apprenticeship was offered to scholars and artists keen to be involved in the SPP. Apprentices Emma Heard and Irma Trnka participated in Theatre of the Oppressed Training, and became important members of the facilitation team. Emma was completing her Honours in Population Health at the University of Queensland; and Irma was investigating "The Effect and Influence of Shakespeare in Prison and Conflict" as part of her Master of Arts at the University of Sydney.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Curt Tofteland (SBB), Gavin Edwards
  • Project Manager: Anne Pensalfini
  • Research Apprentices: Emma Heard, Irma Trnka


MACBETH (Borallon Correctional Centre)

Themes of power and greed were explored in a performance of Macbeth played to an audience of over one hundred guests including Borallon staff, participants' family members, invited inmates, and senior staff from the University of Queensland, government and the judiciary. The 2010 project was financially supported by Arts Queensland, The University of Queensland and the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Jane Barry, Aisling Hoey, Liz Verbraak
  • Project Manager: Anne Pensalfini
  • Consulant/Researcher: Sarah Woodland


JULIUS CAESAR (Borallon Correctional Centre)

An exploration of themes of betrayal, loyalty, violence and the use and misuse of power. Partners and supporters included Arts Queensland, the Department of Corrective Services, and the University of Queensland.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Andrea Carne, Angel Kosch, Belinda Small
  • Project Manager: Anne Pensalfini


THE TEMPEST (Borallon Correctional Centre)

The inaugural project explored themes of incarceration, isolation and loss of privilege/freedom, and The Tempest was chosen as the vehicle for this. TO practitioner Brent Blair travelled from the University of Southern California to train QSE team and oversee the implementation of the project at Borallon Correctional Centre.

  • Director: Rob Pensalfini
  • Facilitators: Eileen Conway, Stephen Daniels, Chris Koch, Tamara Meade, Anne Pensalfini
  • Mentor/Consultant: Brent Blair (USC)