The power of Restorative Justice on stage

Published: Friday, May 24th, 2024

This is a blog by our Communications and Campaigns Officer, Isabelle Gius.

Punch, a moving play about the power of Restorative Justice, is running at the Nottingham Playhouse until 25th May. The production has been an overwhelming success, garnering national media attention and completely selling out.

The play was written by James Graham, a celebrated Olivier Award-winning playwright, and is based on the book Right From Wrong by Jacob Dunne. Dunne took part in a Restorative Justice meeting after killing a man with a single punch, and his meeting with the victim’s family transformed his life. He has been a vocal campaigner for Restorative Justice ever since. 

The play is a testament to the power of restorative dialogue to enable forgiveness and healing. As we know from our own work at Why me?, sharing the extraordinary stories of people who have taken part in Restorative Justice is a crucial way to spread the message and increase awareness. 

The response to Punch has been wide-reaching and positive, praised by theatre critics, politicians and restorative practitioners alike. Arifa Akbar writes in The Guardian: “This is, ultimately, a story about restorative justice… You leave the auditorium feeling hope.” David Shipley writes in The Spectator: “Punch shows us the power of forgiveness, and of the better world we could make… where victims and offenders recognise one another as people in all their complexity.” 

Lilian Greenwood MP was so inspired by Punch that she encouraged her colleagues in the House of Commons to see the play and raised an important question about the role of Restorative Justice in reducing reoffending. 

Every time that Restorative Justice makes it to a new medium, format or venue, we are one step closer to achieving our mission. The more people that know about Restorative Justice, the more individuals and communities will be able to access the resources they need – transforming lives and the Criminal Justice System as a result. 

To learn more about Punch, visit the Nottingham Playhouse website. We hope this is just the beginning!  


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