It's Christmas and that means, at Penwell Special Hospital – or the 'Head-rot Hotel', a psychiatric prison for women – it's time for the patients to put on their best clothes for the Christmas disco.
Head-Rot Holiday follows the stories of three women – Dee, Ruth and Claudia – who have each been imprisoned for various crimes, for which their punishment is to be 'treatment'.
In her introduction, Daniels writes that she became 'interested in how women's mental health is defined and I wanted to write something specifically about a woman detained in Broadmoor or a 'special hospital' – the new euphemism for an institution for the criminally insane . . . with the help of WISH (Women in Special Hospitals), Clean Break set up a research period, during which I was able to talk to ex-patients, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers and solicitors, which enabled me to find a focus for writing about the treatment women receive in those places.'
Head-Rot Holiday was first performed by Clean Break, a theatre company that provides theatre in education to women in prison, at Battersea Arts Centre in 1992.