31 January 2002
Effective Quantification at the End of LSW’s First Year as a Registered Charity
Saturday, 26th January marked the first anniversary of the London Shakespeare Workout (LSW) Prison Project as a registered charitable entity. During that period we held fifty one (51) different sessions in thirteen of Her Majesty’s prisons (ranging from Young Offenders Institutions to large adult training facilities), working with 1,071 different prisoners (78 female; 993 male), 147 of Her Majesty’s Prison Officers and Education Staff took part and we were privileged to jointly offer an interactive education not only for the prison residents themselves, but also for the 602 professional performers who participated. These performers not only encompassed our very honoured guests (who have ranged from the world-renown Dr. Jonathan Miller to the Olivier-Award-winning actress, Ruthie Henshall), as well as the ever-burgeoning core of LSW Prison Project professional team members (inclusive of whom are numbered such veterans as Gayle Hunnicutt, Lynn Farleigh and Barry Morse), but offered as well to 57 key drama school graduates their first paid theatrical employment by virtue of the gift of the LSW Prison Project artist honorariums in lieu of personal expenses. A more significant theatrical debut I, for one, could not imagine. Many of these graduates have gone on to perform in key assignments at the Royal National Theatre, RSC, Donmar, the Almeida and in major film and television roles in the interim. I’m proud to say that the vast majority continue to participate in LSW Prison Projects when and as they can. The LSW tradition has begun to become established. Moreover, those same captioned graduates, many with significant university degrees affixed to their names, all took part in a preliminary LSW sponsored Workout either within the professional LSW developmental sessions in Camden, by virtue of a special programme at any number of the major drama schools, or in assemblies at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities. It is crucial that LSW maintains and enhances its effective markers in order to best test the crucial interactive skills so essential to the success of the LSW programmes themselves. Numbers for the above referenced professional sessions are not reflected in the figures represented here. However, in its entirety, all of the above was achieved in 2001 by virtue of a budget under £22,000 with keen thanks to the growing body of LSW supporters, all of whom generously supported the dream which is LSW.
In total then, there were 1,820 active participants in the LSW Prison Projects (i.e., within the prisons) over the past year. Whilst it is true that this figure would fill only three quarters of the capacity of, say, the Royal Opera House, how many of those attending any one performance at Covent Garden would actively take part in the proceedings on stage. Very few indeed. Moreover, while this number in and of itself signifies just under 3% of the entirety of the current UK prison population, that percentage increases considerably when measured within the realistic realm of the LSW’s 2001 targeted institutions. Moreover, 602 professional performers represents a greater number than the total number of actors who passed through the many stage doors employed by the RSC during this past season. Indeed, the total figure (1,820) is larger than the greatest number of residents in the largest prison in this nation. Of course, all this is simply by way of setting overall perspectives (the first that LSW has been privileged to achieve) and stating that I would very much hope that the worth of the core LSW Prison Project ambition, (one which utilises Shakespeare as a tool for effective interaction seeking to promote confidence through the will to dream), has now been proven. LSW’s job, however, has only just begun.
In conclusion may I simply note my thanks to you for your sincere support of the dream which is LSW. It is, as ever, hugely appreciated.
Chairman, Executive Committee
London Shakespeare Workout (LSW) Prison Project