Jury Play

Traverse Theatre

2nd-7th October 2017

Nearly three and a half years in the making, Jury Play is based on a Phd dissertation by the legal academic Dr Jenny Scott which argues that in the current justice system the jury are not enabled to fully participate in the trial.

For Jury Play, co-written by Ben Harrison and Jenny Scott, Traverse One is transformed into a court room with live jury selection of audience members at the start of the show. Act One takes us through an interminable 52 day trial where we see the jury, at first excited and engaged, viewing the trial through the prism of the TV courtroom drama, gradually becoming disengaged and deadened. The lack of natural light, the background buzz, the static of the carpets, the mumbling, the use of arcane and often Latin language, the evidence presented in an illogical order, all contribute to the failure of the jury to engage. Add to the that the impossible instruction by the Judge to disregard anything the jury members might have seen about the case on the internet, TV, newspapers and radio, and the fact that many jury members are panicking about their loss of earnings and pressure of family life, and you have a perfect storm where miscarriages of justice can all too easily prevail.

A stellar cast, led by the legendary John Bett as the Judge, stage a revolution in justice co-led by Juror 15, played by Helen Mackay, as together they begin to break down the boundaries, the architecture and the norms of a system which has essentially gone unchallenged for centuries. A stunning set by Emily James perfectly captured the atmosphere of the modern courtroom, with beautiful and evocative sound and music by David Paul Jones, lighting by Paul Claydon and video by Lewis den Hertog. The production completely sold out Traverse One within a few days of tickets going on sale.