Prison Reform the Focus for Icon Theatre's RELEASE

Icon Theatre, a Kent based, national touring company producing physical and visual theatre, come to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2011) for the first time to premiere their brand new production, RELEASE, at the Pleasance Dome (Kingdome) from Wednesday 03 to Monday 29 August 2011.

At a time when two thirds of UK prisoners re-offend within two years and when prison sentencing, probation and rehabilitation are facing hugely controversial reforms, Release fuses high-energy physical theatre, an original score and mixed media to create an explosive yet moving insight into just how hard it is to go straight.  

Six weeks after release, three ex-prisoners struggle on the outside as they attempt to reconnect with the people and the remnants of life they left behind.  Kyle searches for work but finds offers from old friends more and more tempting; Hitesh cuts himself off from friends and family and dreams of the open road; while Becky has lied about her past and lives in constant fear of being found out.  

In this fast paced and grittily contemporary production, the spoken word highlights the everyday problems facing ex-offenders in Britain's 21st century society, while fluid and heightened movement delves beneath the surface to the deeper psychological scars that cause continuously negative patterns of behaviour.  

The talented cast of three multi-role playing actors includes Shane Shambhu (Ramanujan in Complicite's A Disappearing Number) and Verity Hewlett (Queen Victoria in Queen Victoria's Men, Channel 4 & New Perspectives).

For Release Icon theatre has pulled together a top quality creative team.  It includes Mamoru Iriguchi – Designer  (London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2009 Winner for Mincemeat, Cardboard Citizens), Nancy Hirst – Director (Young Vic, Yvonne Arnaud & Soho Theatre) and Ola Animashawun – Script Mentor (Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre & Head of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme).  Steve Kirkham collaborated as Movement Director during the development process (choreographer of Klub and Zero for Frantic Assembly, The Hanging Man for Improbable; and a long term collaborator with both Matthew Bourne and The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs.)

The production has been created by the company through a two year process of research and interviews with ex-offenders, prisoners, probation officers, criminologists and hostel managers, as well as site visits to hostels, prisons and probation offices.  

The project has had development support from the South Hill Park Arts Centre, the Pleasance Theatre, the Brook Theatre, the Toynbee Studios, an R&D award from Arts Council England South East and a work-in-progress showing at the Young Vic.

For more information on Release presented by Icon Theatre go to – or
For previous Icon shows: 'Fantastic…. A fun evening out' The Evening Standard, 'Inventive, funny and interesting' Time Out, 'A theatrical treat' The Stage.

Listings Information:
Venue: Pleasance Dome (Kingdome) (venue number 23)
Dates: Wednesday 03 to Monday 29 August 2011 (not Wednesdays – 10,17,24 August) / Previews 03 – 05 August
Performance Times: 14:00  / duration 75 minutes
Ticket Prices: Previews 03 – 05 Aug – £5
8, 9 Aug: 2-4-1 Day – £10
11, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23 25, 29, Aug – £10
6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 Aug -  £11
Box Office: / +44 (0)131 556 6550 / +44 (0)131 226 0000

Review Tickets:
To book review tickets for this show please contact the Pleasance Press Office – 0131 556 6557 /

Media Contact:
Paddy Cuthbert | Podge Publicity | M: 07968699636 | e:

Notes to Editors:
Some interesting facts & figures about prison & rehabilitation:

o    More than 2/3 of prisoners reoffend within 2 years of leaving prison

o    In Scotland, the number of people who re-offend within two years of a conviction has reached its highest level in a decade, with up to 72% reoffending again for those handed jail terms of less than three months.

o    Dorchester Prison, in Dorset, has the highest reconviction rates at 74.7% for adult male prisoners and New Hall Prison, in Yorkshire, has the highest reconviction rates for female prisoners at 76%.

o    The number of prisoners currently serving time in the UK has more than doubled since 1991 (from 42,000 to the current 85,458).

(Source: BBC News

Justice secretary Ken Clarke, MP, is currently drafting a new bill containing huge reforms to prison sentencing, probation and rehabilitation.

For a good overview see this article in the Guardian:
Icon Theatre
Icon Theatre is a Kent based, national touring company producing innovative physical and visual theatre.  Working with diverse collaborators from different backgrounds, each of our shows generates a unique combination of theatrical techniques, blurring the boundaries between movement, text, film, dance, music and puppetry.
Formed in 2002, we have been touring rural & small scale venues for the last 8 years, and as a result we like to think of ourselves as a well kept Kentish secret!  Release is our first production to go to the Edinburgh Festival.
Previous work includes Gradgrind/ Hard Times (UK tour & Warehouse Theatre Croydon), The Odyssey (UK tour), The Canterbury Tales (UK tour), The Men's Room (Warehouse Theatre Croydon), and Skeleton Woman Lady Death (BAC).  
Icon Theatre are a permanent resident company at the Brook Theatre, Chatham.   For more information please see and

Contact: Paddy Cuthbert
Phone: 07968699636