Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

ELIZABETH FRY: THE ANGEL OF PRISONS Will Be Staged in The Elizabeth Fry Room At Canning Town Library

Performances run 22 - 27 August, 2022.

ELIZABETH FRY: THE ANGEL OF PRISONS Will Be Staged in The Elizabeth Fry Room At Canning Town Library

Three prisoners have a story to tell. It's the story of Elizabeth Fry and how she changed prisons forever. But this is not a history lesson. You'll hear both contemporary and historical language. You'll see both modern-day and period mash-up costumes. Because the question remains the same today as it did in Elizabeth Fry's time: does prison actually work?

Elizabeth Fry is forever linked to Newham because she and her husband lived from 1829 to 1845 in Upton Lane House, West Ham. In addition to her prison work, she was a regular visitor at gypsy encampments in Plashet, dispensing food, clothing and medicine to the local Gypsy and Irish communities.

'Elizabeth Fry: The Angel of the Prisons' is the latest instalment in The Newham Plays, a series of site-specific, localist-focussed plays rooted in Newham's history, culture and people, created and written by James Kenworth.

The plays are a unique collaboration between a writer, director, designer and professional actors working alongside students from Newham schools and young actors from local youth groups/theatres.

It continues the collaboration between writer James Kenworth and director Martin Charlton,
following 'Gob', starring ex-Take That star Jason Orange at the King's Head Theatre, and 'Revolution Farm', "a terrifically powerful update...Highly recommended" - The Independent, an update of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' staged on an inner city farm in Newham.

ELIZABETH FRY

English prison reformer Elizabeth Fry. Elizabeth Fry lived in Plashet House in East Ham between 1809 and 1829 when she moved to Upton Lane in Forest Gate. She has sometimes been referred to as the 'Angel of Prisons'. Fry was a major driving force behind new legislation to make the treatment of prisoners more humane, and she was supported in her efforts by the reigning monarch.

In 1813 Elizabeth Fry made her first visit to Newgate prison where she observed women and children in terrible conditions. Elizabeth began working for the reform, campaigning for segregation of the sexes, female matrons for female prisoners, education and employment (often knitting and sewing) and religious instruction.

In 1817 Elizabeth Fry created the Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners and along with a group of 12 other women lobbied authorities including Parliament. In the 1820s she inspected prison conditions, advocated reform and established more groups to campaign for reform. In 1823 prison reform legislation was finally introduced in Parliament.

Like previous Newham Plays, 'Angel of the Prisons 'will be performed by professional actors and local young people, and following the production, an Elizabeth Fry Education Resource Pack will be produced and free drama workshops run in our partner schools.

Regional Awards


More Hot Stories For You


Chinese Arts Now Announces RebrandChinese Arts Now Announces Rebrand
September 29, 2022

Chinese Arts Now (CAN) has unveiled an exciting new name and bold new visual identity:  Kakilang (自己人)- 'one of us' in the Hokkien dialect, evoking kinship and affinity - widely used amongst East and Southeast Asian diasporic groups, is the company's new name. 

Three-Night Run of ABOUT BILL Starring Kim Ismay is Coming to the Other Palace in OctoberThree-Night Run of ABOUT BILL Starring Kim Ismay is Coming to the Other Palace in October
September 29, 2022

About Bill productions will present a three-night run of About Bill at The Other Palace – The one woman show starring Kim Ismay, running from 7-9 October 2022. 

Tracks From New Musical A WORLD DIVIDED to be Released in OctoberTracks From New Musical A WORLD DIVIDED to be Released in October
September 29, 2022

A a sample of a number of tracks from the concept Album of A World Divided will be released exactly six months prior to the opening and will be available to download from 17 October.

Bruno Beltrão Presents His New Work At Sadler's Wells Theatre in NovemberBruno Beltrão Presents His New Work At Sadler's Wells Theatre in November
September 29, 2022

Brazilian choreographer Bruno Beltrão brings his new work by Grupo de Rua to Sadler's Wells Theatre on Tuesday 22 & Wednesday 23 November. 

Hannah Fairweather Comes To Pleasance London For Best Of Edinburgh SeasonHannah Fairweather Comes To Pleasance London For Best Of Edinburgh Season
September 29, 2022

Award-winning Scottish comedian Hannah Fairweather (writer on Mock The Week and The Now Show and ranked in the top 5 for Dave's Joke of the Fringe) is the Taylor Swift of comedy, joking about everyone who has wronged her in the past.