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4 2019 Dec

The Special Relationship – Soho Theatre

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THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP by Hassan Abdulrazzak. Directed by Esther Baker.

SOHO THEATRE 26th February – 14th March 2019. 

True stories from the sharp edge of transatlantic deportation.

Yes I was deported back. Old Trump sent me here. Anything happens to my family, I’m coming across that ocean if I got to come in a tugboat, singing, “Row, row, row your boat”.

A grain of cocaine, a digit on a breathalyser, a forged cheque, a DEA sting or Murder One?

In America, foreign nationals can be deported after serving prison sentences; some of them are British. Caught in the transatlantic tango between Trump and May and proudly presented by a gun-toting Immigration officer, these are their verbatim stories of double punishment and separation from loved ones.

Hassan Abdulrazzak interviewed ex-prisoners and experts in immigration and criminal law to get behind the political rhetoric and explore the extraordinary realities of people caught up in the quagmire of immigration detention and deportation.

The Special Relationship was researched in collaboration with Prisoners Abroad, a UK charity supporting British citizens imprisoned overseas and returning to the UK.


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28 2019 Jan

There is a Field – on sale now

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We are delighted to announce THERE IS A FIELD at Theatre503 from 20 February to 16 March. BOOK NOW

Commissioned by Synergy Theatre Project Martin Askew’s provocative and compelling new play is a London story of faith, death and family strife reshaped by local crises and global events.

Esther Baker directs Archie Backhouse, Sarah Finigan, Roseanna Frascona, Sam Frenchum and Fabrizio Santino.

Martin’s own journey has been one of profound change. He talks about his roots and his writing in this 5 minute film.




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20 2016 Dec

Homecomings: New plays at Theatre503

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We are delighted to announce that two new plays – the winners of Synergy’s national prison scriptwriting competition – will premiere at Theatre503 from 21st February to 18th March 2017 as part of Homecomings: a festival of new plays by prisoners and ex-prisoners about getting out and going home. Tickets are on sale now for Glory Whispers by Sonya Hale and The Monkey by John Stanley.


“I was friendly with a member of staff who worked at the Young Vic. She told me about Synergy Theatre Project and after completing my first ever playwriting course with them I wrote The Monkey. The four characters in The Monkey echo a brief glimpse of the many diverse and varied people I met during my life’s erratic and unusual journey. That the first play I’ve ever written is being produced is beyond my wildest dreams and I owe much to the patience and perseverance of everyone working for Synergy.” John Stanley 2016

“Addiction took me to some dark places – homelessness, degradation and I lost any contact with my family. However, I am now six years clean and out of prison, I am able to be a mum to my son and finally able to pursue my dreams as a writer.” Sonya Hale 2016


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18 2016 Oct

Synergy’s impact – New short film

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Synergy’s impact – New short film 

The impact on those we work with can be profound. Many have long histories of offending, have negative experiences of education, have struggled with addictions, have deeply rooted emotional issues and have never worked. As a result of taking part in the company’s activities many break the cycle of offending, engage with other arts projects or courses, some have gained degrees, some have had their writing produced while others are working as drama facilitators, actors, stage managers and TV extras or enter other forms of employment.

In this new 3-minute film, some of Synergy’s beneficiaries talk about the impact of the work.

Watch Synergy’s impact film.

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11 2016 Mar

The Thief a new short film by Synergy

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Last summer, Synergy made a short film of a script by award-winning writer, Michael Bhim.

Nathan is a thief.

Edward is an alcoholic jazz genius.

When Nathan sees Edward play, something unexpected happens,

but a debt to Waleed means he’ll have to improvise.


The Thief explores the possibility of reversing negative choices and focuses on the themes of peer pressure, exiting gangs and alternate pathways.  The short film will be utilised as part of Synergy’s education programme in schools, PRUs and partners working with young people at risk of offending and be accompanied by workshops supported by ex-prisoner facilitators. 

Taking place over four days, the shoot engaged 10 ex-prisoners and two prisoners released on temporary licence from HMPs Brixton and Standford Hill as actors and production crew in roles including assistant director, camera assistant and art department assistant, working closely with industry professionals.  Of these, four have gone  their own short films through Synergy Studio’s introductory filmmaking course.


The Thief, alongside a 15-minute behind-the-scenes film, made by a cohort of Synergy’s young film-makers, was premiered at The Courthouse Hotel Cinema (a former magistrates court building) in November 2015  and will tour to schools and be entered into international festivals.


If you would like to book a screening and accompanying workshop for your organisation, get in contact with our Education Manager at jessica@synergytheatreproject.co.uk. Synergy can create bespoke projects for schools, colleges, PRUs or any organisation working with young people.


A short film

Written by Michael Bhim

Directed by Esther Baker

Produced by Synergy Theatre Project, Carlene King and Annie Wood

Starring Terence Maynard and Ash Hunter

Assistant Director, Mark

Assistant Director, Mark

P1060398 - Copy









Terence Maynard as Edward

Terence Maynard as Edward

Director Esther Baker and Director of Photography Luke Cardif

Director Esther Baker and Director of Photography Luke Cardif

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Actor, Homer in between takes

Camera assistant Ronel with Clapper



Writer, Michael Bhim

Writer, Michael Bhim

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15 2015 Sep

The Transforming Power of Art – join Synergy at the National Theatre

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Our Country’s Good – The Transforming Power of Art

Join Synergy at the National Theatre

Wednesday 14 October 2015, 10am to 4.00pm
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
Tickets £10 

Join us for a day of discussion and debate, sharing of practice and performance.

Synergy is hosting a reading and workshop on developing new writing from within the criminal justice system for this special event and Artistic Director Esther Baker will be part of the panel discussing the Transforming Power of Art.

Inspired by the National Theatre’s new production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, and in collaboration with the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice, this event brings together arts organisations, practitioners and academics who work in criminal justice settings, using theatre and the arts to bring about positive change.

Confirmed contributors include: Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre; Nadia Fall and Timberlake Wertenbaker, Director and Writer of the NT’s current production of Our Country’s Good; Synergy Theatre Project; Professor Sarah Colvin, University of Cambridge; Dr Alison Frater, Chair of National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice; Caoimhe McAvinchey, Queen Mary University; Open Clasp Theatre Company; Clean Break; Finding Rhythms; Erwin James; Elly Goodman; Citizens Theatre; Juliet Lyon; Prison Reform Trust and Annie McKean, University of Winchester.

Tickets available here 

Free to National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice members and students in Higher Education

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21 2015 Jan

Girls Like That – Awards & Reviews

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Girls Like That by Evan Placey

Girls Like That has won Best Play for Young Audiences at the Writers Guild Awards. Congratulations to Evan!

Girls Like That has also been shortlisted by OffWestEnd.com for Best Production for Young People 2014.

Read the latest reviews and features for Girls Like That.

A naked photo of Scarlett goes viral. Rumours spread across smart phones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the fragile unity of the girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? And why isn’t it the same for boys?

Girls Like That is an urgent and explosive play that explores gender equality and the pressures on today’s digital generation.

Girls Like That by Evan Placey and directed by Esther Baker, was performed by a company of professional and ex-prisoner actors and toured across London schools in October and the Unicorn Theatre from 6 – 22 November 2014.

A free teacher CPD session to accompany the production took place on Thursday 16 Oct 4.30 – 7pm at the Unicorn. Post-show talks followed morning and matinee performances offering audience members the opportunity to ask questions in response to the show during an informal Q&A session with the actors and creative team.

For further tour and education enquiries contact jessica@synergytheatreproject.co.uk or call 020 36686730.

Download the  GIRLS LIKE THAT teacher resources pack here

Age Guide 13+

Duration: 1hr 15 mins

Contains strong language

Explore the topics of Girls Like That with our collection of videos, articles and features collated from the internet. http://bit.ly/girlslikethatstorify



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3 2014 Jul

Den of Thieves by Stephen Adly Guirgis: HMP Brixton

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Book now for our forthcoming production of Den of Thieves by Stephen Adly Guirgis performed by a cast of prisoners and professional actors at HMP Brixton.  Two public performances only, click how to book for further details.

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