by Brokentalkers

“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 breathtaking theatricality, The Examination draws on historical research and testimony from current and former prisoners. With powerful imagery and a visceral soundscape, 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 theater 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) and Professor Hilary Marland.

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

⭐⭐⭐⭐ “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

Brokentalkers was founded in 2001 by Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan after graduating from De Montfort University in Leicester. For over a decade, Brokentalkers have been making formally ambitious work that defies categorization and have built a reputation as one of Ireland’s most innovative and original theater companies.
Their working method is founded on a collaborative process that draws on the skills and experiences of a large and diverse group of contributors from different disciplines and backgrounds. Some are professional artists, performers, designers and writers, while others are people who do not usually work in the theater but who brings an authenticity to the work that is compelling.
They make work that responds to the contemporary world, using elements such as original writing, dance, classic texts, film, interviews, found materials and music to represent that world in performance.
Their recent work includes The Boy Who Never Was (Dublin Theatre Festival 2022), MASTERCLASS (Winner: The Scotsman Fringe First Award 2022, premiered at Project Arts Centre as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2021), The Examination (premiered at Project Arts Centre 2019), Woman Undone (premiered at Project Arts Centre & Mermaid Arts Centre 2018, followed by a national tour in 2019 & 2020), The Circus Animals’ Desertion (Dublin Theatre Festival 2016), This Beach (Munich Kammerspiele, Dublin Fringe Festival 2016, followed by a national tour in 2017), Have I No Mouth (Dublin Fringe Festival 2012, followed by a national & international tour; winner of the Total Theatre Award, Edinburgh 2013) and The Blue Boy (Grand Prix winner, Kontakt Festival, Torun, Poland, 2014).
Brokentalkers have presented their work worldwide in over twenty countries.
Photos: Luca Truffarelli






  • Thurs, May 23, 2024 | 8pmMain Stage
  • with 2 additional performances until May 25th

Performed by Willie White & Gary Keegan

Written & Directed by Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan

Creative Produced by Rachel Bergin | Research by Associate Professor Catherine Cox | Set Design by Ger Clancy | Sound Design by Denis Clohessy | Lighting Design by Stephen Dodd | Costume Design by Sarah Foley | Animation Design / Illustration: Gareth Gowran | Movement Direction by Eddie Kay

Duration: 70 mins.

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.

Brokentalkers´ The Examination originally premiered at Project Arts Centre, Dublin in February 2019.

The Examination is part of Zeitgeist Irland 24, an initiative by Culture Ireland and the Embassy of Ireland in Germany.