Z-Pac Theatre stage panels no drama for prisoners

PRISONERS from the Maryborough Correctional Centre are taking centre stage by helping build stage items for a community theatre group.

As part of the prison rehabilitation program, prisoners are constructing new scenery panels for the Z-Pac Theatre to be used in upcoming productions.

The scenery panels will replace a worn-out set constructed by prisoners more than 10 years ago.

Those panels have featured in more than 50 productions by Z-PAC, including Travelling North, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, Arsenic and Old Lace and The Mouse Trap.

LOOKING GOOD: Z-PAC Theatre has had a facelift.
LOOKING GOOD: Z-PAC Theatre has had a facelift. CONTRIBUTED

MCC general manager Alan Ingram said the activities undertaken in prison industries provided prisoners with meaningful employment as part of a structured day.

"For many prisoners, this is also the first time they have had a daily routine, which includes being gainfully employed," Mr Ingram said.

"It provides a high level of theory and practical training for the prisoners, and is a meaningful way for prisoners to make reparations to the community."

Z-Pac, a not-for-profit theatre group based in Hervey Bay, has been entertaining Fraser Coast audiences for more than 40 years.

The group has about 300 active members and more than 4500 people attend its shows each year.

Z-Pac president Liane Mills said the group was very grateful for the assistance of the MCC prisoners.

"The panels they supplied previously were perfect for our purposes and we're confident the new panels will be just as good," Ms Mills said.

Workshops within the Maryborough-based jail range from constructing timber pallets to steel fences.

As part of the work, prisoners are able to pick up relevant vocational skills, which include certifications and training, to help them find employment upon release.