‘I’m a monster. You can’t marry me’
Jay and Paul are both serving life sentences for homophobic murders. Incredibly, they fall in love and seek permission to marry.
Inspired by real-life events, Kiss Marry Kill is a provocative new play that reimagines the first same-sex wedding in a UK prison.
Take a seat on a prison bed and prepare for the action to take place in front, above and around you - in signature Dante or Die style. With live music from rapper Lady Lykez, the production envelops audiences in the private spaces and conversations of a world rarely seen.
Kiss Marry Kill zeroes in on the limits of our compassion, challenging our assumptions and preconceptions around sexuality, and the criminal justice system.
Content warning: Discussion and descriptions of homophobic hate crimes. There are also scenes of a sexual nature, nudity, violence and strong language.
Age guidance: 16+
Written by Daphna Attias, James Baldwin and Terry O’Donovan
Direction: Daphna Attias and Terry O’Donovan
Dramaturg: Lisa Goldman
Set and Costume Design: Sophie Neil
Lighting Design: Jo Palmer
Composers and Sound Designers: Yaniv Fridel and Ofer (OJ) Shabi
Lyrics and Song Writing: Lady Lykez
Movement Direction: Ayse Tashkiran
Additional Sound Design: Ben Kelly
Recorded at Soho Sonic Studios
Technical Stage Management: Tom Clutterbuck & Philippa Mannion
Trailer music composed by Yaniv Fridel, Lady Lykez, Namvula Rennie and Ofer (OJ) Shabi
We've been developing this project since 2017, during which time we've learnt a lot about the UK prison system and how the arts work within the criminal justice system.
We've had invaluable discussions with forensic psychologists who work in prisons, prisoners, governors and landing officers, criminologists and prison educators. This has included visiting a number of prisons across the coutnry, both working and decomissioned. We've met with academics Nicola Carr (University of Nottingham) and Ian Feis-Bryce (Royal Holloway) who specialise in criminology. Nicola has created ground-breaking resarch in the Republic of Ireland about the LGBTQ+ experience within the Irish prison system. We are hoping to continue a collaboration as we develop the project.
Andy Watson, Artistic Director of Geese Theatre mentored the original 2017 R&D period, helping us to build networks with companies specialsing in arts in criminal justice settings. In 2019 we partnered with Synergy Theatre, who work with prisoners and ex-prisoners to create new theatre, and deliver engagement workshops within prisons. Nine members of Synergy joined us for artistic research and development as our performance ensemble.
Another element of our research was an exploration of the themes with queer groups. Commissioned by South Street Arts and the University of Reading’s Film, Theatre & Television Department, we created conversations and workshops with LGBTQ+ societies and support groups in Reading. We also and hosted an incredibly vibrant symposium on Sexuality in Theatre where panellists included Chris Goode, Lucy J.Skilbeck and Travis Alabanza.
As we continue to build the show, this work will continue and feed into the final production, including regular workshops with the ex-prisoner ensemble.
2020 & Ongoing R&D: We gratefully acknowledge the support from PRS for Music Foundation
2019 R&D supported by IGNITE - York Theatre Royal, and funded by Arts Council England.
2018 R&D seed funded by South Street & University of Reading’s Film, Theatre & Television Dept and funded by Arts Council England.