Ex-prisoners to stage The Chocolate Frog for STUDIO

TAKING ON THE CHOCOLATE FROG.STUDIO channel has commissioned a fascinating 3 part arts series which will see ex-prisoners performing the play The Chocolate Frog, written in 1970 by prisoner-turned-playwright Jim McNeil.

Screentime will produce the Taking On The Chocolate Frog, in which Grant Thompson will guide ex-prisoners through the process from rehearsal to final performance -with the latter in front of a live audience of A-list actors and theatre critics inside the gaol in which the play originally emerged, Parramatta Correctional Centre.

The project is produced with funding assistance from Screen Australia, Screen NSW and Foxtel’s Production Fund.

Chris Keely, General Manager of STUDIO said, “We are very pleased to be joining forces with Screentime, and with thanks to Screen Australia, Screen NSW and Foxtel’s Production Fund, we are able to bring to life this inspiring and gripping masterpiece, featuring those who have personally experienced a similar haunting journey as McNeil himself.”

Foxtel’s Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh, said, “With the announcement of this unique new series, Foxtel is thrilled to continue encouraging and investing in the Australian arts scene and capturing original content for broadcast around the country. The Foxtel Production Fund has assisted in STUDIO commissioning innovative new programs since 2010, and we’re delighted to bring this dramatic story to our subscribers in early 2014.”

Simon Steel, Screentime Executive Producer Entertainment said, “The incredible story of Jim McNeil is largely unknown to many Australians. We are excited to introduce a new generation to an extraordinary part of Australia’s theatre history as Grant and his cast take on The Chocolate Frog.”

Following the emotional journey of Grant and his cast, the series illustrates the fascinating story of Jim McNeil – famous as an Australian Writer’s Guild Award winning playwright, but also one of Australia’s most violent criminals from the 1960s who publicly struggled to assimilate back into society and life outside prison. McNeil wrote The Chocolate Frog during a 17-year prison sentence, in an attempt to show those who knew nothing of prison life that prison values are just faithful reflections of some of society’s own attitudes.

Created and executive produced by Simon Steel, Taking On The Chocolate Frog is executive produced by Bob Campbell, and executive produced and series directed by Debbie Cuell.

STUDIO advertises at TV Tonight.

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