London Shakespeare Workout LSW Prison Project

Life Affirmation

Text by Various

But a few of the responses to 

LSW’s LUP1 Tranche
Presentation @ HMP Pentonville

Nelson Mandela famously said that no one truly knows a nation until you have been inside its jails; that a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones. It was hence with a pinch of trepidation but a bucket full of hopeful anticipation that I entered the secure walls of Pentonville Prison with my band of excited fellow artist and actors.


The stark, cold, old Victorian interior contrasted sharply against the passion, warmth and enthusiasm that radiated from the inmates partaking in the animated Shakespearian rehearsal. A couple of hours immersed in the Bard seemed to have the power to lift despair and provide temporary release from confinement.


Watching the performance, it was difficult to imagine them being much different from myself. Reminded that we all make mistakes, that we all are ‘sinners’…and yet, even in prison a man has the opportunity to be free; to be at peace. A man may commit a ‘sin’ against society, and yet realise through his fall, his true light and potential.


A huge thank you to the inspirational Bruce Wall for this opportunity to partake and experience something so remarkable and life affirming. May this project continue to grow, inspire and touch all who encounter it.  Long live the Bard!!


Yolande Posthumus





Dear Dr. Bruce,


Thank you for inviting me to, and facilitating my participation in, today’s illuminating Shakespeare Workout. I took copious notes of my impressions. Watching you work was inspiring – your passion, sincerity and intensity has clearly helped unlock the inmates’ potentials, and it was powerful to witness them take ownership of Shakespeare’s language under your direction. I’ve never seen Shakespeare delivered with such honesty, vim and vigor – new meaning was released and the text itself made vital by each prisoner. The selection of texts was compelling, with Malek’s final speech in particular drawing attention to and clarifying LSW’s LUP mission to powerful effect. It became easy to forget we were working with prisoners.


Ben Philipp





Bruce, thank you so much for today’s enthralling session at Pentonville.  It was moving and funny and inspiring (that’s the word that keeps coming up in reactions, isn’t it?).  What great work you’re doing.  Lovely to meet Jose, and I really enjoyed talking to some of the prisoner-actors afterwards.


And thanks, too, for my friend Norman’s being able to experience it all as well.  He was equally enthralled.


Frank Lazarus





Hello Bruce


Thank you so very much for a life changing experience. To have a window opened on your inspiring work was a deeply moving.   Also, your imagination and original development of the material played by those young people was a revelation. The fact that it was developed for them, so much more than using straight published work, extraordinary … You have changed the lives of so many lost young men, bringing them hope and digging out the buried treasures within them.


Thank you for this exciting experience. One of the most rewarding afternoons of my life.


June Hudson

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