Members of a Dundee drama company have created a gritty play with the help of serving prisoners – which is now set to hit the Fringe Festival.
Just Bee Productions works with recovering addicts who have battled drugs, alcohol and homelessness issues.
Members of the group have already performed their show – Next Stop Please! – for inmates of HMP Low Moss in Bishopbriggs and HMP Perth.
Prisoners at HMP Low Moss helped to create the narrative for Next Stop Please! It features original transcripts written in prison.
The show tells the true stories of prisoners currently on the inside and the trials and tribulations of coming in and out of prison.
The stories are played out on the Number 88 bus – the only bus that goes to HMP Low Moss – and explore rehabilitation, isolation and the barriers which keep families apart.
Claire Bee, 40, the creative director, said the show was first performed in late 2016 at HMP Low Moss. She said recovering addicts from Dundee had worked well with prisoners to create and perform in the show.
“The whole experience has been extremely positive,” she said. “We’ve performed the show in prisons already and it’s been well received.
“Some of the prisoners have performed in the production in jail. They were extremely nervous, but got a terrific buzz afterwards out of performing.
“They won’t be playing the parts at the Fringe, but their stories will still be told to audiences of more than 100.”
Performer and recovering alcoholic, Kevin Hamil, 37, from the city centre, had previously appeared in Drink! The Musical at the Fringe in 2016.
He said: “I went in with Claire to the prison from the outset. Next Stop Please! was created in Low Moss. We worked with seven or eight prisoners regularly on the project. We had initially performed Drink! The Musical for them and went back for follow-up sessions.
“The sessions allowed us to talk about the issues raised around drink and addiction.
“We also talked about creative therapy and following on from that a group of guys were selected to work on the project.”
Kevin, who has been sober for nearly three years, said working with the prisoners was like working in any other recovery group.
He added: “Once I’d been through the process of going in and out of the prison, I never gave it too much thought.
“It was a different experience performing in a prison, but I could certainly identify with the prisoners who helped to create Next Stop Please!
“They’ve got issues – problems that they face and this creative process gives them an opportunity to talk about them without judgment.
“I wasn’t surprised at all with the level of input they put into this based on their own experiences.
“The impression I got was that they were taking part in this to better themselves.”
Final rehearsals are now under way for the show, which will hit the stage at the Fringe for the first time this week.
Claire said: “All of the input for this production has been taken from people who have had problems with drink and drugs which has resulted in them winding up back in jail.”
Next Stop Please! Will run for five shows from August 2 starting at 2.25pm at the Sweet Grassmarket.