Charlie Ryder Biog
Charlie Ryder is a Filmmaker, Performer, Writer, Dancer, Songwriter, Puppeteer and facilitator.
Charlie is also an Ex-political prisoner who served 8 months in prison in 1995 for his part in a violent protest against the BNP headquarters in Welling in 1993. While in prison Charlie kept a scrapbook with letters, poetry and visual artwork.
In 2007 Charlie brought the scrapbook to life and turned his experience into a one man play using puppets, masks, physical theatre, dance and silence. The play’s aim was to question people’s perceptions of prison and prisoners. Sally Stott reviewing the play for the Scotsman at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2007 wrote “What does going to prison really entail? Charlie Ryder knows first hand because he has been there. In this one-man show he gives a rare and honest insight into the prison system, putting a face to what is often the faceless idea of “the prisoner”.
As he relays his story of being inside for 8 months, after getting involved in violence while protesting against racism he portrays what has obviously been a deeply traumatic time for him. In particular the dehumanising effects of well known procedures, such as being strip searched are clearly examined in his spotlight Charlie has a child like vision of the world that works especially well when paired with the very adult realities of the British justice system. It is difficult to come away from this piece thinking that prison in its current manifestation is a good idea that is Charlie’s aim to make you question the system and it is something he definitely achieves”. The play can be viewed at www.charlieryder.co.uk/plays.html
In June 2008 Charlie got a job with Anne Peaker Centre which promoted and supported the use of arts in prisons in the UK. As part of his role he edited an arts magazine for prisoners and Ex-prisoners called the Aword. The magazine covered the themes of Forgiveness, Hope, Happiness and learning. In Feb 2009 the magazine was runner up for a Prison Action Net Award for excellence in work to strengthen positive identity and belonging in Prisoners and Ex-prisoners. In April 2009 Charlie was interviewed live on Channel4 news where he defended arts in prison and shined a light on the Art of Forgiveness. Charlie gave verbal and written evidence to House of Commons Justice Committee on the Role of the Prison Officer in April 2009. In July 2010 Charlie gave a presentation on the Art of Forgiveness at a global conference on Forgiveness at Oxford University. The magazines and channel4 news interview can be viewed at www.charlieryder.co.uk/press.html
Charlie currently works Part Time as an Outreach Worker at HMP Wormwood Scrubs Community Chaplaincy providing mentors to support prisoners on their release from prison. Charlie is currently developing a documentary which he will share how puppetry has helped him heal and will share the stories of other artists who have used different art forms to heal. As part of this documentary Charlie is looking to collaborate with others. What he wants to do is to run a visual arts competition on the theme the ART OF HEALING. The pictures would be put online and would be voted on by website viewers. They would select there favourite 10 pictures then a panel of artists would get together and sit like a jury and find the three stand out pictures.
Then another competition will be launched with the three pictures on a website which writers and poets will be invited to respond to the pictures. This will also be judged by a panel of writers and poets. Then when the 3 pictures and pieces of writing are brought together it will be filmed to finish the documentary. So if you like the idea of this and you are an artist or writer then i would love to collaborate and spread the love. My aim is to give a platform to creativity and having created collaborations between prisoners with poetry and art i know there are some artists and writers who can share some amazing work on the ART OF HEALING. So please do contact me if would like to be part of this adventure