A safe, just and equal world for women

New play written and acted by women who have been imprisoned performed at Hammersmith Women’s Centre

March 6, 2023
Catch is a new play co-commissioned by women’s charity Advance and the Clean Break theatre company which presents a compelling case for the necessity of women’s centre services and highlights how the criminal justice system places impassable barriers in front of women who are trying to rebuild their lives.

The play is written and acted by women who have lived experience of the prison system and have been supported by Advance and Clean Break.

Advance’s new West London Women’s Centre hosted a performance on 1st March 2023 for staff and women using its domestic abuse and community support services.

Niki Scordi, CEO of Advance, said:
“Often, women’s offending is linked to their own experiences of trauma and abuse, and prosecuting them fails to address these root causes, continuing the cycle of reoffending. Rather than removing a woman from her community – risking the loss of her home, her job, and her children– we offer women the holistic support they need where they live, while reducing their likelihood of re-offending. It’s a privilege to be able to amplify women’s voices with lived experience of the criminal justice system. We need more investment in community support services that advocate for women who have experienced the prison system, especially with regards to their long-term mental health.”
Anna Herrmann, director of Catch and Clean Break’s Artistic Director, said: 
We are grateful to have worked with Advance in developing Catch, this partnership has been vital in ensuring the stories we tell have roots in the very real lived experiences of women who use specialist women’s centre services. Both organisations bring a unique perspective and voice to the project, which we are excited to share on stage in professional and educational settings across the country. We believe this piece of theatre will go far in supporting audiences to think differently about women who find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system and better understand what they can do to ensure they are meeting women’s needs.”
New prisons being built for women

The future of how women experiencing criminalisation are treated in the UK is at a tipping point. The drastic increase in isolation and neglect faced by women in prison during the pandemic has led to a crisis in mental health and despite committing to reducing the women’s prison population in their Female Offender Strategy, the Government announced that 500 new prison spaces are to be built in the women’s estate, at an estimated cost of £150million.


For all press enquiries, please contact:

Emma Walker, Press Officer at Advance

E: press@advancecharity.org.uk

M: 07950 780 114

About Advance
  • Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, equal, violence-free lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
  • As well as providing direct support, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic approach to the issues these women face.
  • Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Get Help
  • For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit Our Impact 
About Clean Break
  • Clean Break uses theatre to keep the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar, helping to reveal the damage caused by the criminal justice system. Through their unique work, they raise difficult questions, inspire debate, and help to effect profound and positive change in the lives of women with experience of the criminal justice system.
  • Clean Break’s vision is of a society where women can reach their full potential free from criminalisation.
  • Find out more about Clean Break’s story in their digital timeline – www.cleanbreak.org.uk/narrative/
  • For more information about Catch, visit www.cleanbreak.org.uk/productions/catch/

www.advancecharity.org.uk @ADVANCEcharity

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