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From the Outside In...



"While on parole in 2019, the experience of working with the inside company was exciting but also a little strange because I walked in their shoes the year before." (Matthew - Member)


Unless you have been imprisoned, you will never fully understand the implications of Matthew's quote. When you are released, the small, daily humiliations are almost immediately forgotten. Performing at the CTICC with the Pollsmoor inmates, brought it all back. When one thinks of freedom in relation to prisoners, you think of them no longer being behind bars. Finished and klaar. But it goes so much further than that. Imagine being in a public space and lining up like a Grade 1 learner, so that you can be counted and then told when to walk, where to walk to, when to stop walking. You have to ask for permission to use the bathroom and then wait for more inmates to have the same need , so that the wardens don't have to walk back and forth. You see former inmates that you know but cannot speak to them. No matter how hungry you are, you have to wait until you are allowed to eat. When the performance starts, you act your heart out in front of invited family and friends. But after the performance, they aren't allowed to congratulate you. Your encore is the sound of the doors closing, as the vehicle takes you back to prison. So having the opportunity to escape from the prison environment is exciting but it also serves as a reminder of all the freedoms you've lost. And for the former inmate, quietly watching, it serves as a reminder of all you've gained. And also, hopefully, serves as a deterrent to walking that Grade 1 path again.

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