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» Disorder Contained

Concerns about the detrimental impact of the prison system on the mental health of inmates are mounting, putting pressure on prison staff, prompting government enquiries and featuring persistently in the agendas of prison reform organisations. But this isn’t today – this is the 1850s.

Disorder Contained examines the effects on mental health of the Separate System: a form of strict solitary confinement and total silence introduced to British and Irish prisons - originally with the expectation that convicts would reflect upon past crimes, repent and reform - and later continued as deliberate punishment.

Using documents from the time, including prisoners’ memoirs, doctors’ casebooks, and the reflections of prison staff, Disorder Contained combines music, song, wit and compassion to explore the effects of this harsh system which endures to the present day.

Disorder Contained is the third play in the Asylum Trilogy: a creative collaboration between acclaimed theatre company Talking Birds and the Centres for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick & University College Dublin, exploring historical approaches to mental health.

Coventry Performances 29 June - 1 July at Shop Front Theatre

38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW (opposite Argos)

Thu 29 June, 7.30pm + post show discussion with creative team
Fri 30 June, 2.30pm & 7.30pm Sat 1 July, 2.30pm & 7.30pm + expert panel after 7.30 show
Tickets: Matinees £6 (£3); Evenings £8 (£4)
Box Office: OxBoffice: 0845 680 1926

Dublin Performances 12 - 14 July at Smock Alley Theatre

1662 6-7 Exchange Street, Lower Temple Bar, Dublin 8

Wed 12 July, 8pm + post show discussion with creative team
Thu 13 July, 8pm + post show expert panel
Fri 14 July, 3pm & 8pm
Tickets: Matinees €8 (€4); Evenings €10 (€5)
Box Office: 01-6770014

Belfast Performance 15 July at The MAC

10 Exchange Street, Belfast BT1 2LS

Sat 15 July, 7.30pm + post show expert panel
Tickets: £8 (£4)
Box Office: 028 9023 5053

All performances can be CAPTIONED (subtitled) via audiences’ mobile devices using Talking Birds’ Difference Engine. If you would like to use this experimental service, please email access@talkingbirds.co.uk for more information.

Please note that, due to the subject matter, there are themes and scenes in this play that some people may find distressing.


We're also busy working on The Difference Engine which is being opened up to testing across the UK this year.

Here's some other 'always on' stuff you can do if you need a TBs fix:

Montague's Song

Listen to the live stream of Montague's Song, recorded at St John's Church on Fleet Street on 3rd September.

Ant & Cleo

Listen to the archived live audio stream of Ant & Cleo.

Trails of the Unexpected: Vol 1

Take a 1500m walk around Coventry and see the city as people who live here no longer do.

Pole Vault

Take an (audio) walk by the canal

links to Talking Birds online shoplinks to Olympic Torch Relay commission Song for a Phoenixlinks to Ant and Cleo