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HMP Bronzefield Sweet Charity

HMP Bronzefield’s curtain call

 
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In November 2018, HMP Bronzefield opened its doors to members of the general public as well as key stakeholders to watch a performance of Sweet Charity. The Pimlico Opera approached the prison to work with residents and to put on a theatre production. Pimlico Opera has been working with prisons since 1987 to change prisons, prisoners and public perception.

The cast and backstage crew was made up primarily of residents supported by the professionals. The residents of HMP Bronzefield had the chance to be involved in all aspects of theatre, from acting on stage to vital backstage roles including hair and make-up. The prison sports hall was transformed into a theatre by a set designer with a 12 piece orchestra set above the stage.

They rehearsed daily for six weeks and the result was a fantastic show, worthy of being shown at the West End. The positive effect the production had was felt across the whole prison.

One of the women involved said: “this is the single most memorable experience of my life. It has been a platform and an opportunity for me to explore something I’ve always wanted to do”

The prison continues to receive letters of thanks and support from members of the audience who came to see the production, one letter read: “…The whole evening was one which left us feeling elated, full of hope and optimism. and sheer wonder that you could get such a fantastic performance together in such a short space of time…”

Ian Whiteside, Director of HMP Bronzefield said: “The partnership with Pimlico Opera cannot be underestimated. It is the single most positive project within a prison I have ever been involved with and I wholeheartedly look forward to working with them again!”

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