Presentations,Publications and Exhibitions

We hope that the research – in form and content – will reach a wide range of audiences including students and academics from disciplines including organisation and management, theatre and performance, sociology and law; artists and arts organisations working in prisons, probation and rehabilitation; voluntary sector organisations supporting women with experience of the criminal justice system and those at risk of entering it.

The research will be shared through publications, conferences, podcasts, exhibitions, public events and this website.

Yard Gal, written by Rebecca Prichard, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, performed by Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Amelia Lowdell. Photo Sarah Ainslie.

Events details the seminar programme with our collaborators at the University of Wolverhampton; York St John University; University of Manchester; University of Sussex; University of Oxford; The University of Sheffield; University of Leeds; University of Reading; University of Warwick; University of Leicester; and the Queen Mary University of London.

Presentations at Conferences and Events

In 2023

Dean, D, Greene, A-M, Bartley, S and McAvinchey, C 2023: One-size-fits-all. The enabling of the criminal justice system as a patchwork of carelessness. Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS), The American University of Paris, 12-15 July.

McAvinchey C, Dean, D, Bartley, S and Greene, AM 2023: Prison and Art. Peopling the Palaces Festival, Queen Mary University of London, 7 June.

In 2022

Bartley, S., Dean, D., Greene, A-m. and C.McAvinchey, ‘Power Plays: Clean Break’s Organisational and Creative Practices‘, TaPRA Conference (Theatre and Performance Research Association), University of Essex, September 12-14 2022.

Dean, D., A-m Greene, S. Bartley and C. McAvinchey, ‘You must remember this: a historical institutionalist explanation of decision-making in a contemporary organisation‘, BUIRA (British Universities Industrial Relations Association) Conference, University of Birmingham, 28-30 June 2022.

McAvinchey, C., Bartley, S., Dean, D. and A-m Greene, ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: criminalised women, carceral society and economies of punishment in Clean Break’s Sweatbox’, International Federation of Theatre Research Conference, University of Reykjavik, Iceland, June 20-24 2022.

In 2021

‘Doing Time: Origin Stories, Endurance and the Work of Clean Break Theatre Company’ at TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association) Conference 6-10 September 2021. 

‘’Asymmetries, Ecologies and Environments in the work of Clean Break’, a panel of three papers at IFTR (the International Federation of Theatre Research), 12-16 July 2021. This comprised  ‘Art Practice and the Asymmetries of Power at Work’, Deborah and Anne-marie; ‘Navigating Institutional Ecologies of Prison and Performance in the Work of Clean Break Theatre Company’, Sarah; and ‘Architecture, Site and Space in the work of Clean Break’, Caoimhe. 

'The women-only organisation Clean Break: hierarchies and the shape of employment relationships’ at BUIRA (British Universities Industrial Relations Association) Conference, 13-15 July 2021.

“Forty years of Clean Break: The activist organisation and the art of making a difference” at SCOS (Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism),3-5 July 2021. 

In 2020

‘Attending to Epistemic Injustice and Criminalized Women: The Challenge and Invitation of Alice Birch’ [BLANK]' at The New Wave of British Women Playwrights Experimenting with Form, Sorbonne Université, Paris. 12 December 2020 – Caoimhe McAvinchey.

Panel discussion at the launch of the Clean Break Archive at Bishopsgate Institute, London. 19 November 2020 – Sarah Bartley,




Research carried out as part of the Women, Theatre, Justice project has informed publications including:

Bartley, S and McAvinchey, C, Dean, D, Greene, AM (in press) 2024: Clean Break Theatre Company: Origins and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Elements Series.

Greene, AM, Dean,D, Bartley, S and McAvinchey, C (2022) Locked up and down: incarceration, care and art in a pandemic. Gender, Work & Organisation 29(4), 1346–1359

Bartley S. (2022). 'What does Transformative Justice Look Like?' Clean Break Theatre Company and the Young Artists Development Programme. In Busby, S., Freebody K., Rajendran C. (Ed.), Routledge Companion to Theatre and Young People London: Routledge, 428-443.

Bartley, S. (2021). 'How we open the doors to a community’: creative collaborations and aesthetic strategies in social isolation'. In Bissel, L., Weir L. (Ed.), Performance in a Pandemic  London: Routledge, 79-86.

McAvinchey, C. (2021) ‘Garotas más, monstros e mocinhas acorrentadas. Desvios da representação de mulheres, crime e prisão pela Clean Break Theatre Company' in Lucas, Ashley E. Teatro da prisão e a crise global do encareramento. Trans. Vicente Concilio (São Paulo: Hucitec Editora, 2021) (298-314).

Herrmann, A. and McAvinchey, C. with contributions from Lucy Edkins, Jennifer Joseph, TerriAnn Oudjar, Jade Small, Deborah Pearson and Stacey Gregg (2020) ‘Inside Bitch: Clean Break and the ethics of representation of women in the criminal justice system.’ London and New York: Routledge, 100-107.

McAvinchey, C. (2020) ‘‘Something About Us’: Clean Break’s Theatre of Necessity’ in Michelle Kelly and Clare Westall (eds), Prison Writing and the Literary World: Imprisonment, Institutionality, and Questions of Literary Practice. London and New York: Routledge, 209-226.

McAvinchey, C. (2020), ‘Clean Break: A Practical Politics of Care’ in Amanda Stuart Fisher and James Thompson (eds), Performing Care: New Perspectives on Socially Engaged Practice. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 123-138.

McAvinchey, C. (2020), “Bad Girls, Monsters and Chicks in Chains: Clean Break’s Disruption of Representations of Women, Crime and Incarceration” in Ashley Lucas (ed), Prison Theatre and the Global Crisis of Incarceration. London: Bloomsbury, 201-212.

Bartley, S. (2019), ‘Gendering Welfare Onstage: Acts of Reproductive Labour in Applied Theatre, Contemporary Theatre Review, 29.3: 305-319

Bartley, S. (2019), ‘Austerity, Gender and Performance: Conversations with Anna Herrmann and Katherine Chandler’, Interventions: Contemporary Theatre Review, November 2019.

McAvinchey, C. (2019), Programme note for Donmar and Clean Break co-production of [BLANK] written by Alice Birch and directed by Maria Ahberg. Donmar Warehouse, London 11–30 October 2019.




UN:MUTE: Audience of practitioners, academics and the public to exhibition of work by our artist-in-residence Laura Dean, presentation of project findings and audience ‘Long Table’ discussion on 'How can we end the criminalisation of women'. Queen Mary University of London Peopling the Palace Festival, 7 June 2023.

UN:MUTE: Audience of senior politicians, policymakers, private- and third-sector organisations to exhibition of work by artist-in-residence Laura Dean and presentation of project findings. Keynote speaker Baroness Helena Kennedy KC. The Shard, London Bridge, 22 May 2023.


UN:MUTE - exhibition of work by our artist-in-residence Laura Dean at the Warwick Business School Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Festival, 9th November 2022.

UN:MUTE  - An exhibition of the art of our artist-in-residence Laura Dean at the Criterion Theatre, Coventry Monday 21st March 5pm-7pm and Tuesday 22nd March 12pm-7pm. 

At the opening of the exhibition on 21st March Clean Break launched their Digital Timeline, telling the story of the company from 1977 onwards. 

Find out more about the event by clicking here.

Funded by the University of Warwick, as part of the Coventry City of Culture 2021 Resonate festival and its theme Amazing Women


I Am A Theatre

This exhibition addressed four decades of Clean Break’s work and was developed and curated by Claire Stone, Clean Break's Heritage Project Manager.

It took place at the Swiss Cottage Gallery from 24 June – 5 August 2021. See more information at

See the trailer for the Exhibition:



This exhibition was created by Miriam Nabarro and installed inside the Sweatbox van for audiences to engage with before or after the performance. Archival material documenting the early days of Clean Break theatre company and interviews with current Members informed the tone and content of the exhibition.

The exhibition was installed in the Sweatbox van before or after performances. This images was taken outside the Royal Court theatre in London, September 2019. Image, Clean Break.
Inside the Sweatbox van there were three cells, each with an installation. Image by Miriam Nabarro. 


Inside the van, suspended panel detailed moments from the company's founding years along with a timeline about policies and practices impacting women and their experiences of the criminal justice system. Image by Miriam Nabarro. 

Miriam’s website gives access to the details of the development of the exhibition.