Dear Friend,

What excitement we all experienced with ‘The Wax King’ adventure, (the London Shakespeare Workout Prison Project’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3 at HMP Pentonville on 10th and 11th February). 

The response has been overwhelming.  Michael Billington in The Guardian noted: “The production’s blend of theatrical professionals and prison inmates worked at the highest level … What was impressive was the commitment of the entire company and … its rare passion for language.”  Gemma Jones, the esteemed RSC Associate Artist remarked: “This was a splendid performance – by any standard!”  Professor Rod Morgan, HM Chief Inspector of Probation wrote:  ‘Please accept my congratulations on an extraordinary achievement and vitally important project.  I was enormously impressed.”  The biographer, Miranda Seymour, said:  “I would have gone a long way to see such a fine production and I really can’t imagine it being more convincingly and powerfully acted.” 

Positive responses have come from all quarters.  Catherine McCarthy, Chief Monitoring Officer for the Arts Council of England-London remarked in her review of The Wax King’s Effective Evaluation and Monitoring Report:  “I was very impressed with the de-brief session - both this session and the reactions post-performance on the 12 February, showed how the project has been highly beneficial to inmates, actors and prison staff alike. I realise that it is difficult to measure the long-term impact on prisoners of being exposed and involved in the theatre but it would appear that your work is quite remarkable in its ability to engage a difficult client group and allow them to effectively participate in a performance within such a short time-frame. Congratulations.”  National Theatre veteran Peter Harding, who played the Duke of York, e-mailed:  “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 part of.  I never realised just how powerful it can be to give someone hope – I feel very humbled by the whole experience.  This time stands on its own.  Nothing in my working life, and not too much in my personal one, comes close.”  The Pentonville chaps, too, have been moved.  One participating inmate, Roy, wrote from his wheelchair, “The professionals and inmates alike found themselves linked in a friendship that many people might not understand, as witnessed by the tears which flowed when we finally had to part.  I thought that this would be a five-minute wonder, but for the past few days we have all found that we have been looking for each other.  Hours are spent exploring the things that we did, and many other inmates have shared these experiences as they listened and got caught up in the enthusiasm and feelings of all who were lucky enough to take part.  My one sadness is for those hundreds of guys who, for one reason or another, were unable to participate.”  This rapture shall be shared in all UK prisons through the inaugural Dreaming Will films.

LSW’s baseline of hope shall not stop here.  Please turn this page to find a new invitation:  The screening of the first two original films produced by LSW’s Dreaming Will initiative.  This event promises to be equally exciting and I very much hope that I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and those friends you may wish to bring at the Curzon Soho Cinema on Monday, 24th March 2003 at 10.30 am.

As ever, thank you for your support of the dream which is LSW.


Gayle Hunnicutt
Member, LSW Prison Project Executive Committee