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Staff and students rehearse the production of Glitch.

The School of Law at the University of Reading is always looking at innovate ways to teach - and experience - the law, including the use of drama in legal education.

Drama is a powerful way to teach students about ‘real-life’ cases. It is also a great way of collaborating and fostering a sense of community.

Glitch - a specially commissioned play about the Post Office Horizon Scandal

Associate Professor Elizabeth Conaghan, a University of Reading law expert commissioned Zannah Kearns to write a new play Glitch that explores the scandal that saw over 700 Post Office workers wrongfully convicted for dishonesty. 

Glitch was produced by award-winning and Reading-based theatre company RABBLE and was supported by students within Reading's School of Law and Department of Film, Theatre & Television.

The play centres on one of the most widespread miscarriages of justice in English legal history. Over a twenty-year period, the lives of hundreds of Post Office workers were affected because of a refusal by the Post Office to acknowledge that financial discrepancies were due to IT failures, rather than criminal behaviour.

Many sub-postmaster and mistresses were wrongly convicted, imprisoned, faced bankruptcy, and had their homes repossessed.

The play is a research-led and fact-based legal drama, based on exclusive interviews with Berkshire subpostmistress, Pam Stubbs, and draws on authentic sources including court transcripts and material submitted to the public enquiry. 

Bringing law to life

Our students contributed greatly to the play’s development. They participated in interactive workshops, benefitting from using drama in their education:

"Being part of the play has given me a deeper sense of knowledge of the Post Office case. It has educated me on the insights of what took place and the extent of its affect on the lives of the people informed. This experience has made me look at the cases we read from a different lens, now from a more personal view, thinking more about the effects of the justice system when not done right, instead of just understanding the facts of the cases."   
Safiya, LLB Law

"Being a part of Glitch has informed me of potential social impact that theatre can have, especially when adopting an interdisciplinary approach. As a current law student and a former drama student, it had dawned on me that some kind of justice can be achieved by shedding light on the serious flaws in the UK’s Justice System through combining Theatre and Law and Glitch is both a platform and a driving force for the voices for those affected by the Horizon/Post Office Scandal to be heard." 
Martina, LLB Law  

"Being a part of Glitch has been an important and educative experience. As well as learning about the law side of Glitch, I have learned about the real people affected by this injustice. Performing these stories on stage has been saddening and inspiring, but extremely important to hear."  
Daisy, LLB Law  

Discover more about the play and its impact on student's legal education in a BBC Berkshire article


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