The Examination

‘I’d like the people to know I’m not an animal. Did I cause harm? Yes. Should I be punished? Of course. But do I deserve my human rights? Absolutely I do.’

The Examination is the award-winning production by Brokentalkers exploring mental health and human rights in the prison system. Performed by Brokentalkers’ Gary Keegan and stand-up comedian and former prisoner Willie White.

Featuring Brokentalkers’ distinctive blend of biography, socio-political discourse and breath taking theatricality, The Examination draws on historical research and testimony from current and former prisoners. With powerful imagery and a visceral sound scape, The Examination is an uncompromising and revelatory interrogation of an aspect of society too often ignored.

The Examination is the outcome of a 12-month research period, that saw Brokentalkers’ directors Gary Keegan and Feidlim Cannon hold theatre workshops and interviews with life sentence prisoners and former prisoners in various settings including Mountjoy Prison and PACE Training and Education Services. They have also drawn on wider historical analysis undertaken by Associate Professor Catherine Cox (UCD), with Professor Hilary Marland and Dr Rachel Bennett (University of Warwick).

Best Production – Irish Times Theatre Awards 2020

Best Soundscape (Denis Clohessy) – Irish Times Theatre Awards 2020

Best Production – Dublin Fringe Festival 2019

Best Performer (Willie White) – Dublin Fringe Festival 2019

The Examination is a collaboration with Professor Catherine Cox, as part of the Wellcome Trust Award for Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000 and is supported by UCD Research. Originally commissioned by UCD School of History.

The Examination Leinster Tour is funded by The Arts Council Touring Award.


Written & Directed by Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan

Creative Produced by Rachel Bergin

Research by Associate Professor Catherine Cox

Set Design by Ger Clancy

Sound Deisgn by Denis Clohessy

Lighting Design by Stephen Dodd

Costume Design by Sarah Foley

Animation Deisgn / Illustration: Gareth Gowran

Movement Direction by Eddie Kay

Performed by Willie White & Gary Keegan

Age suitability: 16+

‘Superbly slippery piece of theatre’

★★★★ The Stage

‘No easy escapes in Brokentalkers’ sly, provocative play’

★★★★ The Irish Times

‘Again and again, 'The Examination' pulls the rug out from under you’

★★★★ Fest
The Examination Trailer - video shot and edited by Luca Truffarelli
Audience Reaction (video shot and edited by Michael-David McKernan)