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Written and directed by award winning Danusia Iwaszko, Penned Up is a funny, and moving new play inspired by her experiences teaching playwrighting in UK prisons for over fifteen years. Tired of how prisoners are portrayed in  the media, bordering on monsters, Penned Up is a hilarious and moving story about prisoners finding liberation through writing. 

Six prisoners join a playwriting group that has started at their prison. At first it's just a way to get out of their cells for a few hours, but as the men return week after week they begin to break the other chains that bind them and find liberation, friendship and hope. Addressing multiple misconceptions and stereotypes of both the prison system and those within it, the play is supported by Arts Council England, Synergy Theatre, Menagerie Theatre and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.


"A brilliant new play, laugh out loud funny but I ended up with a tear in my eye." CEO for Rough Justice

"A thought provoking and emotional piece and a vivid insight into the challenges faced by prisoners." Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk

Danusia Iwaszko is an award-winning playwright and director who lives in Suffolk. Her plays have been staged across the UK, in Ireland and Australia. She is an Artistic Associate at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and has previously been an attached writer at the National Theatre. Danusia also works in communities delivering writing and drama workshops with elderly people, young people, people in prisons, people experiencing homelessness, people in refuge's and people with additional needs, with organisations such as Age UK, YMCA and Refuge. Danusia shares their life experiences and gives them a voice through her plays.

Key Info


Booking for Autumn 2024

Available for

Single nights, split weeks



Read the full article written by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk having attended a rehearsed reading at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Running Time

2 hours (plus interval)


Company Size



Age Guidance




A guarantee against net box office, with no contras and no get out charges

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