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 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,

In the Spring and Summer of 2020, we planned to present research at a number of seminars and conferences which have had to be postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19.

These included:

McAvinchey, C. ‘Prison Theatres: International Theatre and Performance with Women in Prison’ at The Work of The Arts and Culture in Prisons and Probation Research Think-Tank. National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance. London 18th March 2020. 

McAvinchey, C. Contributor to Acting Together - New Prison Partnerships. Shakespeare On Screen In Prisons Symposium. York St John University Prison Partnership Project. York. 31 March 2020.

McAvinchey, C. ‘Playing for Real: How Clean Break Attends to the Criminalization and Incarceration of Women through Theatre’ at Carcerality in the Globalised Present: Prison Spaces, Forms and Imaginaries, University of Amsterdam, 18-19 June 2020.


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

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

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

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. (2020a) ‘‘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. (2020b), ‘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. (2020c), “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.

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.


Coming in 2022

Amazing Women - An exhibition of the art of our Artist-in-Residence Laura Dean at the Criterion Theatre, Coventry in March 2022.

Funded by the University of Warwick, as part of the Coventry City of Culture 2021 Resonate festival. 


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.