‘Correction and Instruction must both work
‘ere this rude beast will profit’.
Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare.
I only had two hours to work with the participating men (who I had never met previously) and was honestly beginning to wonder at lunch exactly what might be delivered up as the afternoon’s cultural dessert.
I needn’t have worried. The lads rose to the occasion. They always do somehow, no matter what the custodial clime. Pride and Prejudice was the given theme of the day and, as traditional in prison theatrics, there was a sense of enhanced pride that money somehow often seems unable to purchase on the out.
I should just add that the sound in this is appalling. There was only one mic and that was dangling down from up behind the lads. Still good enough – one hopes – to give a gist.
LSW has enjoyed involvement in endeavours in countries spanning Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, Austria, Spain, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Malta, Italy, Ireland, the United States, Wales, Canada, Uganda, Northern Ireland, South Africa, China, Scotland, Germany, Chile, Lithuania, India, Hungary, France and Norway among a number of others.
In tandem with the London Business School, LSW developed the successful corporate programme, Willing Dreams, proactively running programmes for a wide range of major corporate entities including Sony Ericcson, Celtel, GlaxoSmithKline, the Metropolitan Police, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Bank, Danone, etc.
LSW continues to operate dramatic workshops in a vast array of educational organisations. Its purview has spanned from all leading UK Drama Schools (see segment below) to educational departments within 100 prisons in England alone and the Military Corrective Training Centre; from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to Trinity College, Dublin; from a relationship with BADA (the British American Drama Academy) to incentives involving both Cambridge (ETC & ADC) and Oxford (OUDS) Universities.
LSW has also led myriad sessions involving students in schools at all levels throughout the United Kingdom from programmes at such historic institutions as Bedales, Uppingham, King’s, King William’s College on the Isle of Man and the McCauley School in Doncaster to a large number of presentations for noted organisations spanning The Young President’s Association to Rainer’s REST (resettlement) initiatives as well as the Bath Shakespeare Festival and the Shakespeare Institute‘s British Shakespeare Conference.
Among the world premiere presentations LSW has successfully produced are VOICES (Royal Opera House, Oxford Playhouse, ADC); HOMAGE BEHIND (Criterion Theatre); ALBA (HMP Send and Criterion Theatre); BLACKING IAGO (HMP Brixton, BBC2 – of which you can still see a 10 minute segment from The Culture Show on YouTube here) and a plethora of this nation’s theatres spanning from Yorkshire’s Stephen Joseph Theatre to the Cambridge Arts) and an original musical LIFTING THE MASK (again appearing throughout the UK). You can hear the latter’s rousing closing number, The Muse, here. (Music by Tim Williams). You might also enjoy one of my favourites, Miss Lucy here.
LSW has also presented celebrated original versions of Shakespeare’s plays including THE WAX KING (Henry IV, Pt. 3); SHAKESPEARE ‘N SINATRA (The Winter’s Tale); ANIMATING MACBETH, RICHARD III as well as early productions of ANTONY & CLEOPATRA and a gender reversed TWELFTH NIGHT.
LSW was privileged to present ROUNDING SHAKESPEARE at the California Men’s Colony. Georgia Oetker’s stunning pictures of the men can be seen beside some letters. One in that series can be seen here. With the LUP Initiative created on the occasion of LSW’s 20th Anniversary (see separate LUP tab above) LSW presented original compilations of Shakespeare, original inmate writing and other classical texts in SINNA, TUESDAY, PREPARE and PRETEND, the latter being an original take on Pushkin’s The Tale of Boris Godunov which was performed by the men in both its original Russian and English.
Drama School Interventions
For over two decades LSW has been privileged to enjoy an on-going core relationship with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Outside of RADA other drama schools who have been actively involved in LSW endeavours include (but are not limited to) E15, Guildhall School of Music and Drama (you can read a debrief of two GSMD classes’ LSW prison visits here), Arts Educational, ALRA, LIPA, Central School of Music and Drama and the lamentedly late Webber Douglas and Drama Centre colleges.
In addition to these LSW has been proud to work with University College London, Goldsmiths College, Rose Bruford College, UAL, as well as working alongside both Cambridge and Oxford University students looking towards commencing a theatrical career post graduation.
Among the many international educational institutions LSW has been honoured to have worked with are both Stanford University in California and the Ernst Busch Dramatic Academy in Berlin.
Tim Williams Programmes
Since 2009 – when LSW lost its inspired Musical Director, Tim Williams, – we have sought out ways to imaginatively honour his memory. We began with an awards programme in his name celebrating the art of theatrical song as Tim had been a keen master of that fine art. In the Tim Williams Awards (TWA) incentive composers were required to relate their music to lyrics drawn from or inspired by classical / established sources not originally intended to be sung. It was felt there was a tad too much competition in the world so we will continue this incentive on a concert basis.
You can hear a vivid example of the above in a piece by David Hewson based on Elizabeth I’s lyric, Go, Go, Go here. We also honoured the wide range of languages that Tim scored for in many international climes with LSW. Here is an example of a such a song: – Open My Eyes – composed by Christopher Hamilton – and performed in the original language of Leah Goldberg‘s haunting lyric, Hebrew.
This led to the hugely successful programmes, FIRST TIME, READINESS IS ALL, OUT OF THE PIANO and WHEN YOU HEAR MY VOICE. In all there are now over 100 songs created in honour of Tim Williams. (Another example can be found in the video embedded immediately below.) In yet another creative extension – again under the TWA banner – LSW was proud to be able to contribute to a programme focusing on enhanced literacy through word, music and dance in partnership with the esteemed English National Ballet‘s Choreographics incentive at London’s Barbican Centre.
Digital Shooting & Editing Training Programme
LSW Productions has also been responsible for the independent production of eleven half hour documentaries including the acclaimed HOW DO YOU KNOW MY DAUGHTER?, SCALING ALBA and the award winning KILLING BIRDS: ANIMATING MACBETHS (you can sample it here). These were produced alongside twenty one shorts and were forged in tandem with the development of the successful ‘Will to Dream’ Digital Video Shooting and Editing Training Programmes.
When you Hear My Voice - Malta
In January/February 2012 LSW was thrilled to be able to engineer a theatrical project in association with the Young Offenders Division (YOURS) of the Corradino Correctional Facility (CCF) in Malta. WHEN YOU HEAR MY VOICE involved a team of professionals who worked alongside a fine collection of international young offenders (two were from the UK). The final – and much praised creation – was performed in a run ‘outside’ the prison and ‘inside’ the enchanting main house of the fortressed St. James Cavalier Theatre.
A broadcast documentary was made in tandem on the restorative effect of literacy by noted film maker, Natasha Serlin. You’ll find a trailer here. Additionally a fully illustrated LSW Report – a literal book entitled When You Hear Their Voice – replete with 182 stunning photographs and media links can be found here. This I fear – given its size – was built only to be accessed via full screens/laptops.
Among the huge number of talented artists
who have actively shared their
much appreciated gifts with
LSW over the past two decades are:
Sir Kenneth Branagh
Anna Maxwell Martin
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Jonathan Miller
Sir Mark Rylance
Dame Janet Suzman
Dame Harriet Walter
‘LSW’s projects have successfully raised
individual horizons and improved everyone’s
sense of self-esteem. Who said poetry makes
nothing happen. These people show everyone
that it does’.
Rt. Hon. Dame Tessa Jowell,
Former Minister, Culture, Media and Sport
as well as Former Olympics Minister
Singing Out in Thanks
‘He gives you upon his knees a thousand thanks’.
Henry V, William Shakespeare.