A NEW theatre project to be presented in Castlemaine will call on the experiences of former prisoners as it addresses what an ideal justice system might look like.
Central Victorian producer Lisa D'Onofrio will hold workshops with former offenders to get ideas for and develop the production, which is titled Out Alive.
"It basically plays with the ideas of what would an ideal justice system look like," she said. "We are getting ideas and feedback from those with experience.
"Ex-offenders come in all shapes and sizes. It would be good to get a range of experience and backgrounds.
"I've had few people get in touch and some others are keen on looking at the justice system discussing ways it can be improved. We want ideas and thoughts from both sides.
"It's not going to be a performance piece that is rehearsed. They will create the piece over the workshops (so) it has a framework but no set script."
Workshops will take place in Castlemaine from October 4 to 8.
"By engaging ex-offenders as experts we hope new perspectives on criminal justice in Australia and some great art emerge," Ms D'Onofrio said.
"Participants will gain basic performance skills in an affirming and enjoyable environment and can also expect to build communication skills and strategies for dealing with difficult situations."
The project, which is set to also be produced in Geelong and Shepparton is supported by the Victorian Legal Services Board and Regional Arts Victoria.
Ms D'Onofrio said she hopes the project can take place in Castlemaine November. If COVID restrictions prevent that, she hopes to present it in March next year.
"The audience will comprise of the family and friends of participants, as well as selected community members (who) will be invited and take on a participatory role," she said.
The project is being directed by its creator James Brennan - an artist, curator and composer based in Hobart.
Ms D'Onofrio has previously worked with prisoners for a separate theatre project that was based around writing letters.
Letters From the Inside was created using letters and thoughts of prisoners from clients the Loddon Prison Precinct and Tarrengower Women's Prison who had participated in Ms D'Onofrio's prison-based creative writing program.
The letters featured came from prisoners who were writing to their past or future selves.
For more information on Out Alive or to take part in the workshops email Ms D'Onofrio at firstname.lastname@example.org
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