Can the hardest men of Northern Ireland’s maximum security jail perform Shakespere? Can they play the roles of Macbeth and make the audience believe? Tom Magill thought it was possible, and with the Mickey B project demonstrated to the world how such unlikely performers could make people emphasise with the emotions they portrayed.
As Magill explained, through the medium of theatre the prisoners can express the guilt that they feel for their crimes. This is a vital step for redemption. The project, with all of its demands of the participants, enables prisoners to connect with other prisoners, in a positive group environment. With this dynamic, they can set their sights high and achieve the unexpected — like Macbeth!
Some of these prisoners didn’t know any reality other than their own, so playing out alternative roles helps them see other possibilities. These are big challenges.
We see the story that we know in Macbeth, but behind these performers are real people creating their own new stories.