Compelling drama Key Change comes to screens

Open Clasp Theatre Company’s critically-acclaimed Key Change was streamed live to audiences across the world on November 25 to mark the United Nation’s campaign to end violence against women.

Devised by women in HMP Low Newton, and based on their real life experiences, Key Change is the story of two women who meet in prison and is a unique opportunity to hear their voices.

Raw, powerful, and very funny, Key Change is a raw and illuminating portrayal of the lives of women in prison.


The play originally toured to male prisons before moving audiences and critics at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe and going on to win the prestigious Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award with a New York premiere in January 2016, receiving a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Open Clasp also presented the show in women’s high-security prisons in both Edinburgh and New York State, before returning to the UK for a sellout national tour.

To mark the UN campaign International Day to End Violence Against Women & Girls, the stream was available to watch online on the Open Clasp website  and at a series of live events across the world including venues in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. In accordance with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the stream was made available to view until 10th December.

Here’s the trailer

What the reviews said

Exquisite” ★★★★The Guardian

A touching, empowering work” ★★★★★The Stage

A remarkable production” ★★★★ The Observer

A moving, intimate and superbly acted drama” New York Times Critics’ Pick

Award winning prison drama Key Change by Open Clasp
Key Change by Open Clasp

Building on Open Clasp’s regional, national and international relationships Key Change will be distributed through partners in the women’s rights, arts, academic and criminal justice sectors including UN Women, the British Council and Penal Reform International. Open Clasp will also work with partners in the UK and U.S to organise community screenings in prisons, community organisations and educational establishments, reaching diverse and under-represented audiences.

Writer and Open Clasp Artistic Director Catrina McHugh said:

“The response to Key Change, both at home and internationally, and in the prisons we’ve visited, has been overwhelming but the success of this project is down to the collaboration with women from Low Newton prison so I thank each and every woman who put their trust in us to tell their stories.”

About this artist

Open Clasp is a multi award-winning women’s theatre company with a unique approach and practice collaborating with women on the margins of society to create exciting theatre for personal, social and political change. Their work is directly informed by the lived experiences of women and young women and rooted in the belief that theatre changes lives. Based in the North East of England they have a national and international reach.  Recent productions include Jumping Puddles (with Frantic Assembly), The Space Between Us and Swags & Tails. In 2013 Open Clasp were awarded the national Emma Humphreys Prize for outstanding contribution in raising awareness of violence against women and children in their work.