Free man Walking – theatre as a tool for detainees’ integration

Programme and call

Creative Europe, CULTURE Sub-programme, Cultural cooperation projects – Call 2019

Active project

Short description

The project was conceived by 4 European organisations that share the problems and needs related to the art of making theatre in prison with detainees, aiming to improve the effectiveness, feasibility and sustainability of theatre work in prisons, as a means of social and personal rehabilitation for detainees and addressing the problems that hinder the implementation of theatre activities in this context. The aim is to strengthen the skills of cultural operators who manage prison theatre. This will result in better organised and more effective theatre work with prisoners and facilitate their rehabilitation and integration upon release.

Theatrical experience is introduced into prisons, also in accordance with the provisions of various national laws, as an activity of socialization and education, as an alternative measure to the punishment that allows detainees to leave and constitutes a rehabilitation activity for detainees led by experts from civil society.

The practice of theatre with prisoners acquires a specific and relevant meaning, which belongs not only to the artistic field but also to the fields of social, integration, inclusion and rehabilitation and can therefore have a positive impact on the whole society.

Two different perspectives coexist in prison theatre, complementary in their results: on the one hand, the prison perspective, which considers theatre activities as rehabilitation, a direct intervention in support of the human, cultural and professional interests of prisoners in order to encourage their constructive social participation. On the other hand, the perspective of theatrical research, which discovers an extraordinary potential of languages, stories, attitudes and personal resources in the context of imprisonment.

The impact of such activities can have an impact on society as a whole, for the reintegration and inclusion of former prisoners and to combat the processes of marginalisation.



– Strengthen and strengthen the capacities of all those cultural operators who carry out theatrical activities in prison, in particular through learning and exchange of knowledge

– Creation and production of theatre performances that address a common theme

– To train the professional profile of the theatre operator, to be considered not only as a theatre director but also as a professional with multidisciplinary skills, linked primarily to the artistic field but also to the legal, organisational and social one.

– To allow and promote the circulation of artists and theatre operators outside the prison itself

– Improving the prison conditions of prisoners undergoing a process of actor training

– Address and spread the theme of prisons, giving it international resonance, through the theater

– Improve public interest by enabling the public to enter prison to attend performances and participate in related activities

– To improve the interest of the public opinion through the information and dissemination of knowledge concerning theatrical activities in prisons



The main activities of the project consist of:

– transnational mobility

– transnational training activities for theatre professionals, actors/prisoners, theatre operators

– production and staging of theatre performances with a common theme centred on the legacy and transmission of knowledge and emotions between generations

– development of the public in prison theatre, which is still limited due to institutional obstacles and prejudices

– involvement of active spectators

– IT tools for public interaction

– meetings with prisoners and theatre operators

– Creation of an EU Prison Theatre Awareness Week to highlight the importance of this activity and put the public in touch with the prison system.



The main expected results are:

– Creation of the professional profile of the theatre operator working in prisons providing him with specific and appropriate skills and competences, so as to implement prison theatre

– Promote the connection between the public (not only the theatre audience but the general public) and the prison because at the moment it is very difficult for ordinary people to get in touch with this institution.

– Positive effects on the prison as an institution and on the prisoners considering that the theatrical work will be implemented

– Better knowledge of the “outside” of the prison and the prisoners and not only for the related negative actions but also for cultural issues

– Improving the skills of theatre workers and prisoners

– Realization of shows

– Increasing and raising public awareness

– Enhancement of prison as a producer of cultural / social / philosophical content

– Increased visibility for prison theatre

– Increased opportunities for reintegration of detainees


Lead partner






Fundacja Jubilo (PL)



The project had a duration of 24 months (1 October 2019 – 30 September 2021)


Total budget

The European grant received is €199 506,00 out of a total budget of €332 510,00.


Funding body

European Commission – DG Culture