Arts News


Award-winning New York Times Critics Pick to be streamed, Open Clasp Theatre Company


As theatres are forced to close their doors, Open Clasp Theatre Company’s award-winning prison drama Key Change will be made available to watch online for free.

Open Clasp has a unique approach and practice, developed over 20 years collaborating with women on the margins of society to create exciting theatre for personal, social and political change. Key Change was created with women serving at HMP Low Newton in County Durham. It originally toured to male prisons, before opening at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe. After winning the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh award it opened in New York to critical acclaim, enjoyed a sell out UK tour, and was performed in women’s high-security prisons in Edinburgh and New York State, as well as the Houses of Parliament. 

In 2017 Open Clasp teamed up with The Space, and Key Change was streamed globally as part of the UN campaign to end violence against women and girls. Writer and Artistic Director Catrina McHugh MBE explains why the company decided to make it available online for free: “We’ve seen first-hand the power of theatre to bring people together and make change happen, so it's more important than ever that we continue to reach out to those who need our support most, even if it's digitally rather than physically. If we ​as a society can learn anything from this crisis it's the need for investment - in the NHS, the provision of free childcare, workers’ rights and access to the arts, to stay connected and stand together. During these uncertain times we are not pulling up bridges, we are looking for new ways to walk over troubled water. Our aim is to change the world one play at a time, but for now we just want to reach out, make people laugh, feel, care and look to a new horizon.”

Key Change will be available from 1pm GMT on 20 March at 

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Photo, Crowds enjoying Garden of Light, by TILT. Lumiere London 2016, produced by Artichoke, supported by Mayor of London. Credit Matthew Andrews 2016.

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Photo, Jennie Gill, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield. Photo Our Favourite Places / Nigel Barker for Yorkshire Artspace.