Actors Respond to but One
I came to the workout yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was an inspiring afternoon and reaffirmed to me many of the reasons why I love acting. Since leaving RADA last July I have had some fantastic experiences but yesterday’s was undoubtedly the most rewarding. ……
I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to take part in the workshop at Brixton Prison last weekend. I had never set foot inside a prison and the whole experience affected me deeply. I was moved by the prisoners’ interest and in some cases passion for Shakespeare and drama in general, and found it both inspiring and
contagious. I feel that this experience has awoken in me a
new understanding of the transformative power of theatre.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and found your work to give hope and direction to those who are otherwise struggling to find a sense of definition utterly inspirational. I felt quite humbled to see the work, particularly of Fabian and Darren, that seemed bursting with a real sense of energy and focus. It served as a well-timed reminder (in this hectic term of showcases and initiation into the brutal business world that drama sometimes seems to be) as to why I decided to try out this acting lark in the first place! ….
I just wanted to let you know how brilliant I found yesterday’s session. I didn’t realise just how much I would get out of it, but I have come away with a strong sense of achievement and satisfaction, and I haven’t been able to stop talking about it with my friends since! It was great to work with the inmates – some of whom had the most incredible, fresh ‘voices’, doing things with language I could only dream about.
I really enjoyed myself and was so impressed by all present. To see everyone tackle Shakespeare in such a way was inspiring. I was left with a feeling of wanting more. …..
I just wanted to write a quick note to say how much I enjoyed catching up with everyone at Brixton. It was incredible to see the development of clearly gifted but raw talents such as Fabian, Darren and Hazel into such accomplished performers. Please pass on my best wishes to them. The work you do is a real inspiration.
I would like to thank you for the invaluable experience of last Sunday. It really opened my eyes and made me realise there are many selfless ways to use performing arts. Darren was the first person in a long time to give me shivers during a live theatre experience! His sonnet was incredible. ….
Thank you for the amazing experience that I had. I was as impressed and surprised as you said we might be. The prisoners were all charming and incredibly talented and it was a very 'grounding' day, I think, for all the professional actors involved.
Matt Lloyd Davies
What an inspirational afternoon it was. It was such a pleasure working with and meeting the guys. I think the work you’re doing and have done is fantastic – it’s what theatre and drama are all about, and the positive results you have produced restore the faith in why we actors go into this.
It’s a very special project you have, and I feel privileged to have been involved. I hope you know that workshops such as that one affect the actors as much as the inmates. It’s all too easy in this business to get hung up on auditions, work or lack of it, and other such crap. Working with Terry, Joe and the other lads reminded me of what’s important and why I’m doing this. So, thank you. ….
I got home from Brixton about four hours ago and I have yet to stop thinking about it. It was the most amazing Sunday I have spent in a LONG time. I had a fabulous time, but the sight of the boys waving us goodbye left me with a funny feeling that I can’t shake off. Mainly sadness I think, but then I keep thinking about different bits of the day, bits when people were clearly pleased with what they produced and the bits where we felt like a community laughing together at something and then the sadness subsides.
I just can’t shake off how privileged I felt to be able to spend three hours with a group of people who probably can’t even spend that long a period with their loved ones on visits. I just wanted to tell you that I didn’t take this lightly and it truly meant a lot.
I felt the need to write to express my admiration of the astoundingly good project that as far as I can see can only bring more good, the larger it gets. I’d like to offer myself for any assistance you may require in the future as I would love to have the chance to be part of it again – in any capacity. I would just love to be involved. The boys were so lovely and I would feel so lucky to have the chance to work with them again.
It was so exciting to see some of them do something, even just a line, a sound, and realise that they are complete naturals and are just going to get better, and have perhaps found their calling. If they choose to follow it. Raw talent! Made me think about my acting from a some what different angle and it just goes to show that what you have before training is probably the most precious of your talent.
I cannot wait to come and see one of your projects, if they’re not all sold out! Which sounds highly likely! Sorry for such a long-winded mail but I just couldn’t rest until I shared my feelings of the day and the fondness and care I felt for everyone and am still experiencing hours after in my own home. ….
Thank you for asking me to the workshop. It was a reminder how rewarding and healing drama can be and how alive and 'real' the work you're doing with these guys is in contrast to the usual middle class fodder of the West End. I feel very lucky and more than a little ashamed. Thank you.
Scott Fulton MacCallum
I found the session very inspiring, your passion and commitment to Shakespeare and the effect it can have on the inmates was amazing. This was proven in their reaction and the work they produced. Thank you it was a memorable and positive experience. ….
Just a quick line to say how much I enjoyed yesterday’s workshop.
I have tried to put some feelings down about the experience, only to read my words back and realise how trite they may appear. The gravity of the task (the rehabilitation of those who lack hope) and playfulness of the means seemed to reflect Shakespeare’s own work. It all made sense in a place where sense must be a rare commodity.
I was challenged, humbled, provoked and uplifted. Thank you and the inmates and staff for the experience.
My head and heart are positively swelling with the experience of today ….
To say thank seems a bit trite as I don’t know what I feel I should be thanking you for … for them??? No, how that possibly feel right when I have spent so much of my life thinking that people are behind those walls because they called it upon themselves … but in there today I saw so many lost and innocent souls … kids that whilst, yes, they may have done wrong … are in essence no different to you or me … so called law abiding citizens.
Listen, thank you for the insight of today. I had a fantastic time and Ollie warned me about how compelling your energy is. It truly is. You truly are. Thank you.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to attend Sunday’s workshop at HMP Brixton, which I found both enjoyable and uplifting which especially surprised me given the fact that we were in a prison. I understand now that this is exactly the kind of attitude you are working hard to challenger: Prison needn’t be a stifling, bitter experience; instead an opportunity to realise one’s potential.
It was a wonderful workshop. Apart from anything else, it was great to do all that work myself. Improvisation and ‘playing’ as an actor has never come particularly naturally to me – it was a brilliantly
safe environment in which to do it. In some ways I felt more at ease in that room this afternoon than I did in my three years at drama school.
It was wonderful to see the guys being so involved and so connected to what the group was doing – and seeming to love every minute of it. Even those who appeared initially quite sceptical looked as if they left the room in a different frame-of-mind to how they entered it. I guess that the workshop offered things they might not have had that much before – a sense of belonging, a group of people listening to them, and a sense of life and fun. I’m happy to have been a part of that – however small – this afternoon.
Just thought I would write to you to thank you for the Shakespeare Workshop today. I have to say that I was impressed with the work that the inmates produced and some of their writing was just mesmerising. It’s a brilliant scheme and the inmate I worked with (Anthony) seemed very excited about the opportunity to perform. He told me it was his first drama lesson and I was amazed by the courage he showed just to stand up and perform our iambic pentameter piece in front of his fellow inmates.