Put Me on the List
Text by Jason Mansell
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: The London Shakespeare Workout (LSW) Prison Project
Bruce Wall brings a team of up to ten actors to the Education Department once a month. Within the afternoon’s event there are spaces for twenty inmates (the spaces are always oversubscribed). Bruce leads the participants through a variety of exercises related to the work of William Shakespeare. Each event has proved to be a tremendous success for all involved.
After the initial event, interest has been extremely high. Whenever I am in the prison I will always be asked ‘when’s the next workout’ and ‘can you put me on the list’. The comments made by the men instil a sense of hope within this difficult environment. Enclosed with this reference of support are four letters of praise from some of the Workout’s previous participants. These men were delighted to put their feelings onto paper, all of them stating ‘come back soon’.
Within the prison, the LSW is a breath of fresh air. It shows the men alternative approaches and uses of language. It is the opportunity to be involved in something new and exciting. The commitment and work from the men during the Workouts is its true reward.
I feel that this project is something extremely worthwhile and do not hesitate in offering it my full support or recommending it to other establishments.
Bruce and his team of actors come to us for the small cost of half his travel expenses, which is true value for money. Without the generous financial support from various charitable groups it would not be possible for the LSW to visit HMP Bullingdon, due to our restricted budget. I would urge support from all areas to ensure the continued success of this excellent event. Comments from two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon capture the sense of the workout.
“The last two visits have been so rewarding for myself as well as for the other inmates in HMP Bullingdon. Learning about Shakespeare has been a real eye-opener for me and rekindled my interest in the use of words to express myself.
I’ve been in prison for some four years now and I’ve never had opportunities to do this sort of thing before. In actual fact never in my life have I done this sort of thing. It was like I’ve opened up another channel in my mind.
Deputy Head of Education
[Now Director of Offender Education, Milton Keynes College]