Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Mickey B/Macbeth: Bringing Shakespeare to Prisons and Academia via Film Adaptation

Rosa García Periago



This article examines in detail the project that will be carried out in Murcia (Spain) in 2021 involving Mickey B (dir. Tom Magill, 2007), a full-length film adaptation of Macbeth, filmed and created by the inmates of a high-security prison in Northern Ireland, Her Majesty’s Prison Maghaberry. As part of my collaboration with the Educational Shakespeare Company (ESC, now rebranded as esc films), a charity with branches in Northern Ireland and the US, I translated Mickey B into Spanish. Through this translation, I intend to introduce esc film’s work with socially excluded groups to both marginalized groups themselves and to academia in order to bring into focus the possibilities of community engagement and the necessary interlinks between academia and what happens beyond the academic world. This case study is the first to examine a finished Prison Shakespeare film project (Mickey B) outside Northern Ireland. It aims to analyze the process and artistic outcome of the project and to introduce into a Spanish context some of the ideas promoted by the film (the choice of Shakespeare’s plays to promote a reparative cultural work or the notion of inmates as victims as well as perpetrators). However, my aim is to go beyond prison Shakespeare, and to explore the numerous possibilities a film adaptation like Mickey B could have, not only in a prison context, but also within academia and film theatres. The constant and ongoing interconnections between the different scenarios and agents make this project the first of its kind in Spain.


Mickey B; Macbeth; Prison Shakespeare; film adaptation; social justice; culture as agency

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