Skip to main content

Post-show Expert Panel

Disorder Contained: A Theatrical Examination of Madness, Prison and Solitary Confinement
Expert panel: Sat 01 July, Shopfront Theatre, Coventry

Our panel of academics, artists, and a consultant psychiatrist are delighted to answer your questions on the underpinning research for Disorder Contained and its relevance to today’s prisons.

Peter Cann is a writer and director who works across a range of forms from small scale touring theatre to opera and large scale, site specific performance. His work with Talking Birds includes the other two parts of The Asylum Trilogy: The Trade in Lunacy and A Malady Of Migration. He directed the operas Troy Story and Ant and Cleo on which Talking Birds collaborated with The Orchestra of The Swan and children from special and mainstream schools. The music for all of these shows was written by Derek Nisbet, with whom Peter also collaborated on Taking Flight - the story of Frank Whittle and Twinsong with Volgograd Children’s Orchestra. He is an associate artist with UK companies Absolute Theatre and Centric Theatre and has worked for Birmingham Rep, The Welsh National Opera and Pentabus Theatre.

Peter’s international work includes a new libretto for La Boheme, commissioned by Cape Town based Isango Ensemble and numerous collaborations with O Teatro Montemuro. Two of his plays, Tres Monologos Duma Vida and A Almafada De Penas de Cuco, are currently touring Portugal. He is currently working with Cães do Mar in The Azores on a version of Moby Dick for one actor and a brass band. Peter is a part time lecturer in drama at The University of Wolverhampton.

Associate Professor Catherine Cox is one of two Principle Investigators on the Wellcome funded project Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000. She is Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland at University College Dublin. With Professor Hilary Marland, she is researching the strand of work on mental health in prison 1850–2000.

Her publications include Negotiating Insanity in the Southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900 (2012); with Hilary Marland, Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (2013); with Maria Luddy, Cultures of Care in Irish Medical History 1750-1970 (2010) and numerous articles. Her most recent book Adolescence in Modern Irish History (edited with Susannah Riordan) was published in 2015. With Dr Graham Brownlow, she is editor of Irish Economic and Social History.

Dr Elizabeth Hardwick is Consultant Psychiatrist with Combat Stress, the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans, offering free specialist clinical treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women of the UK Armed Forces. Previously she was a Clinical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist with the NHS, during which time she was the visiting Psychiatrist for seven years to HMP Onley in Warwickshire. Other prisons in which she has worked include: HMP Blakenhurst, Long Lartin, Rampton High Secure Hospital, and prisons in New Zealand. Download her esssay Suicide and insanity in nineteenth-century prisons: The effect of the separate system of discipline on convict mental health.

Professor Hilary Marland is the other Principle Investigator on the prison project and Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick. With Catherine, she is researching the strand of work on mental health in prison 1850-2000.

Her research and publications have focused on the history of psychiatry, including Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain (2004) and the relationship between migration and mental illness, a joint project with Catherine Cox, resulting in Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (2013). Her most recent book Health and Girlhood in Britain, 1874-1920 was published in 2013. Aside from prison medicine, she is currently working on medicine in the modern household.