In Your Own Words – Responses to Jail Baby

What a week it’s been!  Last Thursday we opened our new play Jail Baby to a very enthusiastic and supportive audience. The packed house was brought to tears and laughter, with lots of folks attending the opening night reception not only to celebrate the world premiere, but also to discuss the issues brought up during the performance. Over the long weekend momentum continued, and despite the heavy rain, our friends and fans came out and participated in our post-show panels, which have been a great hit! We have just four shows left of this incredible play and we hope you can make it out!

Take a look at what some of the audience members had to say after the opening night show! Tickets are still available for tonight and this weekend! Please visit or call 204-586-2236 to book!

In addition, below the cut you’ll find some reviews of the show from our colleagues across Winnipeg. What we’ve learned over the course of the week is that everyone agrees that this play could not have come at a better time – now more than ever we need to hear the voices of women in the justice system and to bring the issues facing them to the forefront of public discussion.

“Jail Baby” a harrowing look at the roots of the prison system – Joff Schmidt (CBC The Scene)

“McIntyre and Moore cut the deadly seriousness of the subject matter by depicting Char and Jasmine’s experiences in the justice system as surreal, over-the-top fantasy sequences. A perpetually cheery ringmaster character (Hot Thespian Action’s Shannon Guile, putting her comic chops to great use) takes us behind bars in a recurring segment called “Lifestyles of the Poor and Marginalized,” and court literally becomes a circus. Not that Jail Baby ever becomes outright comedy – what humour there is here is pitch black, because it always has the ring of a disturbing truth under it. (“Born in prison. Born a prisoner,” the adult Jasmine says. “It sounds like a bad country song.”) Its mix of heavy drama and absurdity is handled skillfully by the talented seven person cast, rounded out by local veterans Daina Leitold, Megan McArton, and Cory Wojcik, all of whom do excellent work in a variety of roles.”

Two Hundred Twelve – Lorraine James (Winnipeg actor and blogger)

“Until the misconceptions are nonexistent and the injustices are fixed, stories like these will persist. Ignore the reality all you want, they won’t go away. You don’t have to be someone who’s experienced the injustice of being a minority thrown in prison or a family member whose loved one became a victim of a crime to understand this story; many people have had bad things happen to them, wanting justice, getting no closure. This play seeks to bring the issues into broad daylight for anyone still in the dark.”

Graphic play real story of aboriginal incarceration – Kevin Prokosh (Winnipeg Free Press)

“Jail Baby succeeds graphically in presenting the real story as to why aboriginal women are nine times as likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime as any other women. From the time Jasmine (played by Melanie Dean) emerges at birth onto the concrete prison floor, she is more or less left to fend for herself, mothering her mother, used as domestic help in foster homes, as a sexual plaything by the men in her house before drifting into prostitution out of economic necessity. The playwrights raise a lot of crucial questions and wonder where the answers will come from in the absence of any political will in Ottawa to help society’s marginalized with anything more than a jail cell. The ringleader delightfully declares, “And now that we are spending millions of dollars on new prisons and increased security, there won’t be anything left over for frivolous things like: education, job training and rehabilitation.””

Blog review by James Hoddinott

“The play in itself is worth the price of admission with some outstanding performances. However, don’t leave early as the Panel Discussions is interesting and encourages the audiences to ask questions to the panel. A young Aboriginal woman currently serving a life sentence in Alberta provides some insights into her journey. I certainly would highly recommend to anyone to see this play and to listen to the panel. We need to heighten our awareness and enter into a dialogue about different solutions in order to create a safe and caring society where everyone can be included.”

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