The Wax King

Dear Bruce,

I was exhilarated and heartened by the performance of "The Wax King" at Pentonville on Tuesday.  I hope it brings positive reactions from the 'Important Quarters' - particularly monies, and an improved
climate for the work to continue.

Sincerely,
David Delve

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Dear Bruce

A short e-mail to congratulate you and the company on the impressive ,
heart-warming and moving performance I saw last Monday at PENTONVILLE. I do voluntary work at Wandsworth prison and believe very strongly that much could be gained, not least with self esteem for the prisoners, with more ventures like yours. Prison is a frustrating workplace from the point of view of someone who has run a company and worked for 30 years in an international company, because it is obvious that if more attention was given to rehabilitation and education  the likely number of those inmates who return would be reduced.

I hope very much to see your company at Wandsworth sometime. In the
meantime I wish you every success.

Yours sincerely
Bridie Tobin.
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Dear Bruce

Thank you so much for the opportunity of playing Edward IV. It was a very
difficult goodbye to the men on tuesday night, I felt very close to all
of them particularly Danny and John who I got to know well. You have given
them something very special. 
Much love and thanks,

Julius.D'Silva

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Dear Bruce, 

I came to see The Wax King on Monday evening and just wanted to thank 
you for such a special experience.  I feel very lucky to have seen the event.  
It was a wonderful evening and a great production.  

Congratulations and many thanks again, 

Laura Sydonie
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Dear Bruce,
 
Just a quick note to say thanks for the last two weeks. Although there were great frustrations along the way, continually battling with the authorities, and by Tuesday I really had had enough of being lock in (I can only imagine what it must be like for the inmates) the final performances and the genuine emotion of Tuesday morning and after the last show made it a truly profound experience; you felt you had really made a difference to peoples lives. You can't say that very often. I hope you felt it was worth all
the sleepless nights.
 
Speak to you soon.
 
Rupert Mason
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Dear Bruce and your team

What an amazing performance. What an amazing achievement. I cannot 
possibly express how extraordinary the whole experience was. You must be 
enormously proud of everyone. Well done. Please could you somehow convey 
my appreciation (and that I the two friends that I brought along with me), to 
the men at Pentonville. I have written to them but you never know if it gets 
through.  Once again well done

very best wishes, Roma Walker
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Dear Bruce,

What an incredible experience!   I've been trying to work out why it was so 
emotional-and other than getting to know everyone in the company very well-
I think the sheer gratitude of the chaps from Pentonville was a privilege to be a 
part of.   I never realised just how powerful it can be to give someone hope - 
I feel very privileged and humbled by the whole experience.   
This whole time stands on its own.   Nothing in my working life, 
and not too much in my personal life,  comes close.

Bruce you are one of those very rare people who actually can move 
mountains and I take my hat (the one with the Dallas Cowboys insignia) 
off to you.

What else can I say other than to thank you so much for giving me the 
opportunity to be a part of it.  

Much love,

Peter Harding
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FAO: Mr Phil Wheatley, Director General,
Cleland House,
Page Street,
London, SW1

Dear Mr Wheatley,

I attended a performance of "The Wax King" at HMP Pentonville last night, staged by LSW.

It was an extraordinarily powerful and inspiring experience to witness professional actors, ex offenders and present inmates all conspiring to produce a piece of first rate story telling together. It was above all this communality that was so moving. We as people need each other, we need to connect, we need to listen and we need to learn. Who could ask for a more exhilarating guide than Shakespeare who understands the human condition so well."There is nothing, good nor bad but thinking makes it so".

I wish to add my voice to an appeal that I trust many of the witnessís to last nights performance will make, please let this work continue. To raise the menís self esteem, interest and creativity in this kind of way can only be beneficial, not only to the men themselves but to all the other inmates too, as well as in the long run society itself. Many of these men have children, they need to be able to set a positive example to their kids when they are released Ė to stop the cycle of aggression and despair continuing from generation to generation.

If we can create within the prison walls a source of hope, the realisation that there is possibility of change and reconciliation, the will to dream, then there may well be fewer re- offending in the future. As one of the prisoners said last night, it is bad enough being locked up, deprived of all that many of us take so much for granted, they need to be involved in ways that will build their self-esteem, confidence and enthusiasm for life.

Please, please let the creative arts and the many artists who wish to share their skills and vision into the prisons as much as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Jennie Stoller
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Dear Bruce, 

Just to say a huge thank you for Tuesday night. What a splendid
performance - by any standards! I am full of admiration and was very
moved.

Love, Gemma Jones
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Dear Bruce 

A truly great and moving evening.  Congratulations to you and all concerned. 
In particular I thought that the actor playing the fledgling RIII (Oliver I think) 
was wonderful. 

Clive Brill
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Hi Bruce

That was a really interesting evening in Pentonville - a rivetting
performance, and some striking comments from an inmate actor and the
Governor afterwards.  Congratulations to all concerned, especially
yourself without whom it would not have happened.

Bridget O'Brien Twohig, J P Getty Jnr Trust

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I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the performance of The
Wax King last night at Pentonville.   It was inspiring and moving and an
experience which will long remain in my memory.

I don't know whether you will get a chance to congratulate those inmates
who took part but it really was 'a night to remember'.

Caroline Ryder
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Dear Bruce and all involved in the LSW,

I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful experience last night. The 
performance really was remarkable, the language was cherished 
by the actors and inmates in a way that i don't think i've ever witnessed in 
theatre. This is not surprising as through your projects you are 
not only teaching people to perform Shakespeare but showing people new 
dimensions to life, using it as a tool to open doors which would 
ordinarily remain closed.  I was talking to Danny before the play and he 
actually said 'Bruce has shown me a new side to life through Shakespeare.'
I hardly need reiterate the amazing effect that your work has on the inmates 
as it was clear from their commitment, focus and energy in last 
night's performance and indeed in the comments they made afterwards- 
but i wanted to tell you that i think everybody in the room last night 
experienced a new form of Shakespeare. I have often thought that 
theatre was dead in this country and in the work that you do it is kept very 
much alive- it is about life.  The inspiration that you give to young people 
considering careers in the arts is astounding. You have shown me that I'm 
not wasting my time and that it is possible to make a difference through 
doing something that you love.

I hope that I have the privilege to be able to support your work in the future.

Thank you,

Saraid Dodd
Cambridge University
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Dear Bruce. 

This is just to say that Kerry and I thought last night's performance was 
a total triumph.  We had no idea what to expect so came to it t 
completely fresh.  It was an absolute joy. You must be very proud, not only
of the lads but of yourself.  Every second was a delight and a revelation. 
They are SO talented and there is no doubt that you brought that talent to life.  
We felt extremely privileged to be there.I loved talking to them all beforehand.  
They were so welcoming and open and their enthusiasm and admiration for 
you was boundless.  I hope very much to be able to come to one of your 
workshops with Gayle one day.  She and I have been friends for
about 35 years! 

We both send our huge thanks for a memorable and happy
evening.  MORE productions soon please.  Good luck with your work 
and long may it flourish.

All Best Wishes from (Lord and Lady) Charlotte and Kerry St Johnston.
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Dear London Shakespeare Workout, and especially Bruce,

Thank you so much inviting Saraid and I to 'The Wax King' earlier this evening. I simply had to write to tell you what an incredible experince it was, once again, to be involved and supporting one of LSW's projects.

I can honestly say that it is through workshops I have attended with you that I have come to realise that drama can truly affect and change people deeply, directly and quickly, and, to put it as simply as I can, save lives from despair.

On a personal note, I had always thought that drama was, however much I loved it, too indirect a tool for change, too much the province of a particular social elite, too closed off from the people who really needed it. I thought I would have to go into politics to change things. I now realise that drama is an awesome tool, and have come to understand how, wielded in the right way, it can do the greatest good. You have, in short, made me want to be a dramatist: thank you.

Many, many thanks, I am truly indebted to you,

James Croft.
Cambridge University

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Bruce
 
It was truly a privilege being at Pentonville tonight and am not sure how I will find the superlatives to express my astonishment and enjoyment. Firstly, I have never seen such a gripping version of the play(s), clear, stimulating and astoundingly well spoken by everyone. The music was pitched exactly right, the commitment and generosity of the entire cast was manifest, and your own role worked so seamlessly and relevantly. Five full days rehearsal seems almost impossible.
 
And what an illustrious audience to be sitting in. The Pentonville organisers were proudly boasting that tomorrow night's crowd boasts even more celebrities.
 
I am so glad and proud that the LSW has taken off beyond imagination - although, as I was telling people tonight, when they asked where we'd met (in New York, about fifteen years ago...), it was predictable that you were going to make something very important at some stage. I am also honoured to have taken part in some of the early workshops, and would love to find the time to contribute to the prison project as it expands in the way it inevitably will.
 
Good luck for tomorrow night.
 
Best, Michael Fry
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Dreaming Will Launch

Dear Bruce, 

I just wanted to thank you for yesterday...it was profoundly moving, 
and life affirming. The documentaries should be shown on television .... 
the work you are doing is wonderful, and very important. 
THANK YOU! I meant to say something on video, and somehow...didn't! 

Last night I was telling someone about your wotk, and I have been invited 
to write an article for a magazine that wants to promote GOOD things, 
and projects that foster unity in whatever enviroment.  It does not have a 
huge readership. But I would love to put pen to paper and share such an 
inspired project ...would this be OK? I could send you a copy of what 
I proposed to write? ALL good wishes, and may the 
project grow and flourish...dreams become reality! 

Sarah Finch
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Dear Bruce,

I would like to thank you for the invitation to the Dreaming Will
screenings, which myself and a colleague attended on Monday 24th March
at the Curzon Soho. It was an extremely interesting and enjoyable
morning and I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues on the
valuable work you are doing.

I work in the Non Fiction Unit of the bfi National Film and Television
Archive, and would like to enquire whether London Shakespeare Workout
would consider including some of their work in the nation's film
collection? We feel that "Bully Me: Bully Who?" and "How Do You Know My
Daughter?" provide a unique viewpoint on, and give voice to, a community
which is under-represented in much contemporary media. These works also
give some telling insights into a group of actors at work (and play) in
a different context than we are perhaps used to seeing.

Yours sincerely

Jez Stewart
Non Fiction Acquisitions Assistant
bfi National Film and Television Archive
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
020 79574739

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Hi there, My name is Natalie Blackman and i am emailing you with regards 
to the 'Dreaming Will launch' I came to yesterday at the Curzon cinema. 
I am a third year student at the university of Surrey, Roehampton and I
 am doing my disseration on theatre in the criminal justice system. I 
was wondering if it would be possible to get hold of a copy of "Shakespeare 
in the Big House" by Randerick Bishop?  I found the whole morning very 
insightful & inspirational to my dissertation. 
Kind Regards, Natalie
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Hello Bruce,

Thanks very much for a great morning, yesterday. So good to see a living record of  LSW's achievements. A true testimonial as to how effective your efforts have been and a chance for many to voice their appreciation.

Look forward to speaking again soon.

Best Wishes,

Mark Faith

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Morning Bruce,

I'm so glad I came to the Curzon yesterday morning....What a tonic boost to start the day!

I hope it moved and shook the right kind of people, and that the LSW finds itself in an even stronger position to develop and grow.

Best wishes

Nicky Goodchild

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Dear Bruce,

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the films yesterday.  The work you do is truly inspirational - long may it flourish and grow.   I have great hopes for Shakespeare reforming the whole of the prison system, and if anyone can do it, you can!  Gregory Cox asked me to tell you he loved seeing your work as well.

Good luck in all your future projects.

Best wishes,
Robin Miller

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Hi Bruce, Many thanks for this morning and congratulations.  I found the films uplifting, thought-provoking and very human.  Long may the work of the LSW continue!

All the best, Dan Giorgetti

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Dear Bruce,

Thank you for inviting me to the screening.

I've just got back. Wow!  From your description of the work I had high expectations  and I wasn't disappointed.  The commitment and passion  which the inmates and actors showed in The Wax King was extraordinary.
This is how Shakespeare should be performed.

The films made a very powerful argument for the project.

It was so upsetting to see Avy (I think that was his name) break down when talking about what happened after the performance when they had to go back to their cells.  After the screening I went to one of the camera stations. I didn't manage to say what I wanted so that is why I have sent you this.

You do great work Bruce. Well done.

Best Wishes, Angus Lindsay

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