Clean Break Announces 40th Anniversary Season Two - SWEATBOX, REBEL VOICES, and More!

Clean Break continues its 40th anniversary year following the success of its Spring season, which opened with the sold-out run of Inside Bitch at The Royal Court Theatre. The company announces a second season of work to include:

-The launch of Rebel Voices, an anthology of 40 monologues for women by women, from across 40 years of Clean Break, published by Methuen (May)

-Sweatbox, the revival of Chloë Moss's play performed in a prison van at Chichester Festival Theatre and travelling across the UK (from June)

-Plays by Sonya Hale and Natasha Marshall at HighTide Festival (September)

-The full-length premiere of [BLANK], a new play by Alice Birch, a Donmar Warehouse and Clean Break co-production (October-November, press night: 17 October)

-A series of talks and events featuring conversations with Clean Break's Founders, Southall Black Sisters, Deborah Coles and Sonali Naik QC

Anna Herrmann and Róisín McBrinn, Joint Artistic Directors: We are delighted to be announcing Season Two of our year of celebration. At the heart of this season, we are co-producing with the Donmar a play that originated at Clean Break with two of the country's leading theatre artists - Alice and Maria. This feels like a truly bold way to make as much noise as possible about who we are, where we are at, and the change we want to see for women affected by the criminal justice system.

There are also wonderful opportunities to reflect on Clean Break's impact over the past 40 years through our collection of talks, our monologue book to be published by Methuen and a heritage project which will initially be presented touring alongside Sweatbox in a prison van. We are so proud to be continuing to change women's lives through theatre at this pivotal moment of our history.'


Rebel Voices on Stage

at The Donmar Warehouse

Sunday 12 May 2019­ at 6.30pm

Clean Break celebrates 40 years of producing ground-breaking women writers and writing by its Members with an anthology of 40 monologues from 40 Clean Break voices. Including monologues by Alice Birch, Theresa Ikoko, Lucy Kirkwood, Bryony Lavery and Winsome Pinnock this collection goes some way to embodying Clean Break's extraordinary canon and offers an exceptional resource for women actors of all ages.

To mark the release of the anthology, Clean Break will host an evening of readings highlighting the rich tapestry of Clean Break's history of working with some of the most vibrant, daring women writers in British society, as performed by some of the UK's most treasured women actors. Cast includes: Jackie Clune, Michelle Greenidge, Jennifer Joseph, Ann Mitchell and Lia Williams.

Rebel Voices: Monologues for Women by Women: Celebrating 40 Years of Clean Break Theatre Company is published by Methuen Drama (£14.99) on 2 May. To pre-order a copy go to


By Chloë Moss

Directed by Anna Herrmann

Touring from 12 June 2019

Press performance: Thursday 13 June 2019 at 5.30pm and 6pm.

Are we here?

Oi! What's goin' on?

Anyone there?

We're at HMP Bronzefield. They do this. Stop the van outside the gates then leave you sat there like battery hens.

Travelling across the UK, Chloë Moss's Sweatbox invites audiences to enter the back of a prison van in which three women share their stories of arrival and anticipation as they are transported from court to prison, from prison to prison, from prison to court.

Clean Break @ HighTide Festival

Writers include Sonya Hale and Natasha Marshall

HighTide Festival, Walthamstow

September 2019 (dates to be announced)

2019 is a landmark year for Clean Break as it celebrates 40 years of holding a megaphone up to the voices of marginalised women and making its mark on the theatrical world. At HighTide this year, it will share a special sneak peek at what's in the pipeline for 2020 and beyond with a series of rehearsed readings from writers including Sonya Hale and Natasha Marshall.


A Donmar Warehouse and Clean Break co-production

A new play by Alice Birch

Directed by Maria Aberg

Commissioned by Clean Break

at The Donmar Warehouse

from Friday 11 October - Saturday 30 November 2019

Mon-Sat 7.30pm and Thurs & Sat 2.30pm

Press performance: Thursday 17 October 2019 at 7pm.

When she was little, she was so happy.

I know everyone says that. I do.

She sold drugs.

She's good at interrogations.

She drinks in the mornings.

She ate a rabbit.

She smashed up a shop.

She stabbed a man.

She can't stay awake.

She used a hammer.

She had a baby.

She can't find her mother.

She's covered in blood and doesn't know why.

This striking new play from Alice Birch takes a kaleidoscopic view of what happens when a woman goes to prison and is directed by Maria Aberg.


Clean Break and Southall Black Sisters @ 40

In Conversation: Activism, Women and Power

at Shakespeare's Globe, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Wednesday 15 May 2019 at 6pm

Clean Break and Southall Black Sisters were both founded in 1979, the end of the decade of the women's movement, and the year that Margaret Thatcher came to power. Dr Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare's Globe) chairs a panel with the founders and current leaders of both organisations, exploring themes of justice facing women, the current context and the strategies both organisations have adopted to affect change and reclaim power.

Clean Break @ 40

In Conversation: Deborah Coles and Sonali Naik QC

at Garden Court Chambers

Thursday 27 June 2019 at 6:30pm

Sonali Naik QC, Clean Break Patron (and previous Trustee), has been in practice at Garden Court Chambers since November 1998, specialising in public law cases and in all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law. This special event sees Sonali in conversation with Deborah Coles (Director of INQUEST and Clean Break Trustee) as she shares stories of her personal motivation and passion for human rights and justice, her journey within the legal profession and her reflections on the role that Clean Break has played in women's lives that have been affected by the justice system.

When not on stage, Members are participating in a range of projects with leading partner organisations and female artists. These include a newly formed writers' group in partnership with Soho Theatre, making a film for London Festival of Architecture to be screened in June, an upcycling project with London College of Fashion, as well as volunteering as archivists as Clean Break delves into the past stories of the Company. Clean Break will also be delivering theatre workshops in women's centres across the capital for partners Women in Prison and Advance Minerva.

A programme of one-day training courses will be available across the season. Hosted in Clean Break's north London studios, these will provide artists and practitioners the opportunity to learn about Clean Break's unique approach to working with women affected by the criminal justice system. Training will include work with young women, trauma-informed practice and writing for theatre in prisons. Alongside these days, bookings will be taken from Universities to share best practice with students in related areas of study. Bookings will also be taken for Sounds like an Insult, by Vivienne Franzmann; a play and accompanying workshop which highlights the challenges facing women with complex mental health needs. This will be touring later in the season and suitable for conferences and training events for staff working frontline with women. Clean Break can also deliver bespoke training for teams, drawing on 40 years of expertise working creatively with women.

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