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If Prison Walls Could Speak

Powerful new Christian drama touring the UK

You are documenting the persecution of Christians in Sudan. You’re at the airport, about to leave the country, when security forces move in and arrest you. You’re given a life sentence for spying, conspiracy, photographing military areas and inciting violence against the state.

And then they throw you in a prison cell with fighters belonging to Isis.

Your name is Petr Jasek.

How will you cope?

If Prison Walls Could Speak is a powerful new production by the Artless Theatre Company, a Christian ministry partnering with Release International. Artless are touring churches across the UK, from September 2021, running through to November 2022.

Imprisoned with Isis

Artless tell the story of Release International associate worker Petr Jasek, in a performance based on his book Imprisoned with Isis.

Billed as, ‘a true story of resilience, espionage and faith from the heart of the persecuted church,’ the play has been called ‘incredible and unmissable’ (Centurion), and ‘immersive, moving and thought-provoking,’ (To war with God).

Release Director of Engagement, Laura Hayes, describes the production as ‘deeply moving.’ She says: ‘Artless Theatre have designed a stunning, interactive set which uses film and lighting to show settings from Sudan, which really brings the production alive.’

That production is a one-man hybrid multimedia performance, featuring immersive video and sound.

Chris Poch, playing Petr Jasek, responds to a host of virtual supporting characters, including his wife, his evil interrogators and his parents.

In his book, Petr Jasek describes his 14-and-a-half months in prison, which included time in a cell with Isis fighters.

One of the dangerous cellmates he was confined with took part in the killing of Egyptian prisoners on the Libyan shore. These were Coptic Christians who were slaughtered like cattle for their faith.

Osama Bin Laden

Among those Isis fighters was a former bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden.

‘Your prayers sustained me.’

And although his Isis cellmates beat Petr Jasek and vilified him, he went on to lead some of them to Christ.

Petr learned the key lesson of the persecuted Church, that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Sharing the gospel with his fellow inmates was God’s purpose for Petr in jail. And it was by God’s strength, rather than his own, that Petr would survive.

Release put out an appeal at the time to pray for Petr. He later said, ‘Your prayers and letters helped me and sustained my family. The experience changed my life. I realised what it really means to be a Christian.’

After 445 days, he was set free following diplomatic intervention.

‘Deeply moving’

Laura Hayes of Release watched the play at St Mark’s Church, Kennington. She described the production as ‘encouraging, shocking, deeply moving, and true to the book.’

She rates Chris Poch as ‘very good,’ in the lead role, and the script as an accurate reflection ‘of the real character of our friend Petr Jasek, who personally approved the final production.’

Artless describe If Prison Walls Could Speak as, ‘our most ambitious and compelling production to date, containing a message that is inspiring and challenging for Christian and non-Christian audiences alike.’

Says Laura Hayes: ‘It is absolutely brilliantly done. You really must see this play, and encourage your church to consider hosting it.’

For more details contact info@releaseinternational.org

Venues near you

If Prison Walls Could Speak is touring at a church near you. For a full list of confirmed venues, please click here

To listen to a podcast with the Artless Theatre Company about their production, click here

And to purchase a copy of Petr Jasek’s book, Imprisoned with Isis, click here