Medium and message: The Forgiveness Project and the Synergy Theatre Project

The Forgiveness Project and Synergy Theatre Project collaborated to stage a play about the murder of a teenager.

Two charities have joined forces to put on a play about the reactions to a teenager's murder in order to stimulate debate about the criminal justice system.

In The Long Road, each member of the victim's family reacts differently. The mother, for example, does not forgive the killer but decides she has to meet her to understand her motives.

Prisoner rehabilitation charity the Synergy Theatre Project approached the Forgiveness Project to suggest the idea after seeing the educational charity's exhibition, The F Word: Images of Forgiveness, first put on in London in 2004.

As well as staging performances of the play in London, the Forgiveness Project organised discussions about it and took it on a tour of prisons.

Marina Cantacuzino, founder of the Forgiveness Project, says the charity often uses storytelling to promote restorative justice, but has not used theatre before.

"It's a very powerful medium, but it has to be good," she says. "You could have a complete disaster if people find the play boring or the acting bad."

Esther Baker, director of the Synergy Theatre Project, says: "Theatre can be used as a transformative tool within the criminal justice system, at both grass-roots and political levels."

The play ran for three weeks at London's Soho Theatre in June, and will return for a second run this month.

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