LSW Prison Project News Page
The LSW Prison Project undertook 62 projects in 2002 in 37 prisons spanning Sussex to Staffordshire alongside incentives for ex-offenders in London and Manchester. Each and all of these programmes continue in 2003 with a branching out on a national basis with the great assistance of the Sainsbury Family Trusts.
Theatrical partnerships enjoyed by LSW thus far have included those with The Nottingham Playhouse, The Birmingham Repertory, RSC, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Old Vic, Thelma Holt Productions, Manchester’s Contact Theatre and The Royal Opera House.
Special 2003 projects include but are not limited to: -
f A production of Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3, (here entitled
The Wax King) utilising the talents (inclusively) of inmates, ex-offenders
and inmates at HMP Pentonville and performed infront of the general
public and inmates alike. This programme is generously sponsored by
the Arts Council of England, London Lottery programme;
f The recording of Shakespeare sonnets and original inmate writing with
named professionals and produced by inmates at HMP Bullingdon
thanks to the Arts Council of England, Southeast Lottery programme;
f A week’s sojourn in Canada (17.10 - 27.10.03) working with the
Canadian Stratford and Shaw Festivals in Toronto Jail and Stratford
and Niagara Dentention Centres.
f An active association with Chris Grace and the Animated Shakespeare
Tales for prison performances utilising inmates and professionals
commencing with Animated Macbeth at HMP Wandsworth;
f Encouraging our on-going associations with Oxford and Cambridge
Universities in terms of the ‘VOICES’ programme celebrating new writing
inside and out inclusive of the kind support and co-operation of the
Koestler Arts Trust
Each and all of these are being carried out alongside LSW’s new media arts training programme, ‘Dreaming Will,’ utilising ex-offenders and professionals in the creation of a video series (3 planned in 2003) based on themes inspired by Shakespeare such as would be relevant to contemporary institutional life and distributed free of charge to all UK prison educational centres in juncture with Prisons Video Magazine. Piloted at Cambridge University, Dreaming Will was joyfully launched at HMP Pentonville on 16.1.03. The LSW Prison Project seeks to employ the works of Shakespeare and other major dramatic voices/thinkers as a tool towards effective interaction in order to promote confidence through the Will to Dream for all.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on.
LSW is Growing
has, perhaps not surprisingly been a very active time since I last issued an LSW
newsletter at the end of last year. A few of the exciting items in the interim
year and a half ago Jane Attenborough, the zealous Arts Officer for the Paul
Hamlyn Foundation, asked me if LSW would be interested in doing full
productions of Shakespeare in prisons. Although interested, I did not
feel that the core LSW programmes were well enough established at that time
to answer that call immediately. Notwithstanding, In February 2003 we
launch the first LSW production of a Shakespeare play, in this case, Henry
VI, Part 3. The production was called The Wax King and was
a triumph for all concerned. Production/performance details are
reflected in the URL below:
very attractive poster for The Wax King can be viewed via the link
the production, LSW Executive Committee Member, Gayle Hunnicutt, sent a
letter out to supporters giving a brief notation of the overwhealmingly
positive response and inviting them to the upcoming Dreaming Will
indicated in Gayle's note, we were deeply honoured to receive a positive
review from Michael Billington in The Guardian
joy of the LSW teams is always rooted, however, in that of the
inmates. Here, one, Roy, offers an effective evaluation on behalf of
the dedicated team of 18 prisoners who took part in the production alongside
as well as a follow-up letter received later:-
There have been many, and professionals of the company have been back to the prison to continue the work with those inmates who remain.
the rehearsals of The Wax King one inmate was rapidly released - Very
rapidly. His participation in the production had come to mean a huge
amount to him. Attached please find a copy of his letter to The
Governor once released, requesting to come back into the prison and to be
allowed to finish the job he had begun. It speaks for itself, very
movingly. Sadly permission could not be granted, but Woody, after his
release, took part in the filming of the Dreaming Will Initiative
documentary, 'Bully Me; Bully Who?'
audience for The Wax King was, as Michael Billington suggested, a
very prestigious one. Here, among a huge number, are a selection of
e-mails received by the Chairman of the LSW Executive Committee:-
As well as but one of a great number of letters, this being from Professor Rod Morgan, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Probation:-
Letters were not only received by LSW. Here a letter from Hilary Pugh at MIND was sent directly to the Governor of HMP Pentonville, Gareth Davies:-
the run of The Wax King we were also most proud to see - and after
much work - that the Dreaming Will initiative was able to be launched on
16th January 2003. This is the single most important new LSW programme
planned for 2003. The Dreaming Will Initiative, a joint venture
between the LSW Prison Project and Prisons Video Magazine (PVM), enabled
through most generous initial funding by Dependency 2 Work, is a programme
which (a) offers training to offenders, ex-offenders and professionals in
the applied literacies (verbal, written, numeric, musical, and visual) as
are actively involved in the shooting and editing of digital video in tandem
with LSW's practical employment of the texts of Shakespeare and other major
dramatic writers and thinkers throughout time and (b) additionally sees the
professional production of programmes on themes of universal institutional
import to be distributed on a complimentary basis to correctional centres
throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Dreaming Will
Initiative Training programme, initially piloted with ex-offenders at
Cambridge University in November 2002, is now active in four prisons.
Of the twelve ex-offenders who took part in the pilot programme, three are
now gainfully employed within the film industry as a direct result.
The associated ex-offender/professional Dreaming Will Training Programmes
are to be launched in June in tandem with The Actors Centre. Of
course, the happily established ex-offender/professional LSW Workouts shall
continue to grow in tandem.
To give some indication of the impact, please read a letter from Clare at HMP Cookham Wood who has enjoyed a full Dreaming Will Training Programme, herself creating a film about the Listener's Programme for the prison itsef:
as well as a response from Ian Kirby, Education Manager of the self-same prison.
fulfillment of stated 'Dreaming Will Initiative' goal, LSW and PVM under the
Dreaming Will banner have successfully produced six films for distribution
since 16th January 2003. These are: How do You Know My
Daughter; Bully Me; Bully Who?; Shadows; Souls in Hope; Feast in a Cry of
Players and Writing Wrongs of Dumbing Down. Among those who
have been actively involved include Nichola McAuliffe, Stephen Shaw, Sheila
Reid, Barry Morse, Lynn Farleigh, Sir David Ramsbotham, Gayle Hunnicutt,
Fenella Fielding, Roger Graef and Lady Simone Warner.
The films were proudly premiered in a programme which mixed film with live performance of original inmate writing on 24th March 2003 at the Curzon Soho Cinema, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue in the heart of London's West End. There was an excellent turnout.
Full reports on The Dreaming Will Initiative have been created and can be found under the cover sheet:
or, for the specific films, on the associated URLs:-
How do You Know My Daughter:
Bully Me; Bully Who?:
Shadows & Writing Wrongs of Dumbing Down:
Souls in Hope:
of the most extraordinary pieces of writing to be created recently was by
Randerick at HMP Pentonville. It is entitled 'Shakespeare in The Big
House' and we are honoured to be able to share this with you:
was much writing during the period of The Wax King. Here another
budding poet, Danny, writes a telling poem, 'Happy to Pretend':
course, it remains the LSW Shakespeare Workouts in the wide variety of
prisons (now numbering 43) which remain key to all LSW activities.
Here is a wonderful letter on the occasion of LSW's debut at HMP Belmarsh
from the Education Manager therein, Helen Matthews. I think Helen's
letter beautifully defines the experiences we are privileged to undertake
with LSW on a weekly basis:
giving equal voice to Helen's staff, here a equally poignant letter from one
of the teachers who took active part in the Workout, Peter:
of course, to forget the inmates, who make each and every LSW session so
please find here a letter from an inmate relating his experiences in a Workout at HMP Bedford on 16th April 2003:
A VITAL ADDENDUM
will close out this newsletter with a restricted link to an article by LSW
Associate Artist, Anders Lustgarten entitled In the Penal Colony: What Prison
Actually Does to Us. For those who have the time, this is a most
illuminating read. I very much encourage you to take ten minutes to watch
Anders paint this extraordinary picture, one generated through enormous skill
and experience. Bless you all for your continuing support of the dream which is LSW.
Bless you all for your continuing support of the dream which is LSW.
Should you be a new reader of these pages and interested in attending one of the LSW Sundays, it is kindly requested that, should you fall under the category of 'professional actor' that you need have the appropriate classical training/experience and interactive skills to fully benefit from the vast joy which is continually returned within the LSW Prison Projects. Should this be the case, please write to: Bruce Wall, Chairman, LSW Executive Committee, LSW Prison Project, Post Office Box 31855, London SE17 3XP or send your missive via an e-mail message. New applicants will be notified, where applicable, of the next available 'New Member' LSW Developmental session. For the LSW Guest 'Events' established members will be contacted by e-mail ONLY if space available. As usual, there will always be a mix of established LSW members and newcomers in order to better feed the community service programmes.
Should you be an ex-offender and/or identified as being 'at risk', please feel free to write to the above address, if possible by e-mail. We shall endeavour to do our best to respond to all correspondence.
A HOME FOR USED
VOLUMES OF THE BARD
It broke my heart to know as I did, when after our second session at HMP The Mount the chaps to a man, (here numbering over twenty five including Colin, Mansul and Gavin, now studying at the Guildford School of Acting), ran up to long-standing LSW member Robyn Moore wanting to know which plays they could learn text from, when, in stark reality, only a solitary copy of Macbeth sat on their library self. These chaps can't run out to their local Waterstones. This situation, however, was very happily corrected at HMP The Mount on 28th November 2001 and in future sessions. The offerings of so many LSW members have been presented with labels in each edition stating: 'This volume is a gift of the LSW Prison Project in celebration of the LSW Prison Programmes at HMP The Mount Workout.' This gift was keenly appreciated by the librarian and the administrative staff, but it is really for the men who give us all so much joy that these volumes will really serve. Of course, there are many, many more prison libraries - without even the limited funds given to our own public libraries and certainly minus the same opportunities to raise funds for such. Thus, LSW, in its own small way, hopes to go what distance it can in offering assistance. It will, I promise, through the active work of our own expanding LSW Prison Project, be a gift which feeds. If anyone reading this has copies in their possession of Shakespeare or other classical texts which they are no longer using, your donation will, I promise, make a substantial difference.
Should anyone wish to make comment on any of the above, your comments will be welcomed, as always, on the LSW Postings Page under Waxing On LSW.
Unless you are new to these pages, you will, of course, know that the LSW: Prison Project has recently turned a corner and has largely come into its own. It will, of course, as it must, grow. However we can pause briefly and take a collective breath of pride in the factual knowledge that the fundamental foundations of the LSW: Prison Project's intent have now been clearly established. There will, of necessity, be new projects; new incentives; but the path towards the ultimate goal, that of promoting confidence through the Will to dream, has been secured. Of this, I am more proud than of any other LSW achievement thus far (and there have been a great many to choose from). The clarity now achieved in the initial fulfillment of our goals clearly establishes LSW as a public service organistion in the minds not only of LSW's own burgeoning membership, but also in that of the world at large. Long may LSW continue to serve not only its own noted congregation but, at one and the same time, strive to fulfill the needs of that same 'noted' wider community.
Of course, it is never too late to learn
and as we all live in a state of perpetual anticipation of good fortune
Generous Assistance is Requested
|Much as with the Globe itself, in all its
various periods of re-construction, LSW cannot be a 'one man' effort.
I would love to hear your comments about the web site, indeed about LSW and, its heart, the LSW Prison Project. Each and all are greatly valued.
Upcoming features planned include:-
The options are as limitless as our imaginations.
Still, this will not happen of its own accord. Thus, I'm going to ask for your assistance - your generous assistance. LSW will need the following:-
Remember: L:fe's but a learning experience and:-
The Bard sends us all back to its School - joyously!!!