Blagg! Prison Theatre Workshops

Blagg! originates from Manchester (UK), where it was developed in 1991. It is a cross between applied drama and cognitive psychology. Blagg! was originally aimed at prisoners but its scope was broadened to anyone who commits offences. The goal of Blagg! is not to make people adapt to the norms of society but to enlarge their potential of choices. The effect of Blagg! is that people will make more conscious and motivated choices, because they get a better image of the consequences.

Blagg! revolves around a fictitious character, who is invented by the group members. This character becomes a biography which culminates in an offence. The three central stages of the workshop are: creating the character, creating the biography and escaping from the mechanisms of oppression leading to the offence.

Blagg! is based on the notion that offending is a combination of a dubious decision and not enough options to choose from. More options mean less chances of repetition of the offence. Research into its effects shows a reduction of recidivism among participants of 30% and more. The program is most effective when the group of participants shares background and problems.

C-LinQ offers these workshops in prisons in any country of the world, provided the prisoners participate on a voluntary basis.

A detailed report about a Blagg! project in women’s prisons can be found here.

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