Hairspray: audience reactions

Hairspray at HMP Bronzefield opened on Saturday evening. Here are some audience reactions to this extraordinary show.

“Amazing – the West End and Bronzefield smashed it.”

“It was amazing – 5 stars.”

“My two guests and I thought the performance was absolutely superb and inspiring, there was so much passion, hope and emotion in this show. Everything was so exciting, impressive and uplifting….the stage, orchestra, costumes. performances and the perfect organisation.”

“As a staff member of HMP Bronzefield, having watched previous shows supported by Pimlico, I would like to congratulate you all on another remarkable production. I sat in the audience beaming with pride for each and every resident who took part. Working closely with lots of them, I am aware of their journeys, I have listened to their fears of doing something completely out of their comfort zone, but more importantly heard how the production team gave them  a purpose to succeed and lifted their self esteem. Thank you all and I look forward to next year’s production.”


“Brilliant. Probably better than the current Palladium show as the buzz is so strong. Well done all and thanks for a great evening.”

“We really enjoyed last night’s production, it was such fun and so uplifting. All the singers and dancers were marvellous, it was hard to tell the professionals from the amateurs. A wonderful night’s entertainment, we are so pleased that we came.”

“If I lived nearer I’d be back every single day to watch Hairspray! What an inspiring, feelgood, colourful production. I didn’t know what to expect and we came as our daughter, Kat, was doing wardrobe. We loved every minute. Fantastic singing, costumes, set, music, acting. So funny and the cracking pace meant I couldn’t believe it was the end when it came round. I was uplifted by the final chorus but sad to realise that was it! The talent of the residents was awesome, all of them. Motormouth Maybelle. What can I say? Never have I experienced goosebumps all over my body when watching someone sing. I wanted to jump up and start a revolution (although that might have got me arrested!). I hope every single resident taking part relives their performing moments over and over again and takes heart from them. Thank you Grange Park Opera and Pimlico Opera for an evening I won’t forget in a hurry.”

“Neither of us could stop smiling throughout the entire performance! So joyous, uplifting and professional. So very impressed with what Pimlico Opera and the residents have been able to create together. A well-deserved standing ovation for everyone at the end of the evening. We will definitely be going to future events and will also spread the word about such a worthwhile and rewarding cause. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

“The most amazing way to spend International Women’s Day, a Sunday evening … What you and your team created was utter magic.  Fairy dust.  The talent oozing out of all the ‘residents’ and their staff alongside your pros was inspirational.  The way the programme shared an insight into their back stories was a wonderful idea.  As for the understudy … she was so good I have absolutely no idea which character she played! I absolutely adored it and look forward to the next one.  Their energy, emotion and bravery at facing us all as an audience was wonderful.”

“Our experience in Bronzefield was last night was amazing – truly inspiring from all angles. The production was as good as one would get on the west end stage, and the fact that it was achieved in 5/6 weeks, and with so many of cast being ‘residents’ is truly magical.  Reading how life-changing events like this has had such an impact on their outlook, given the backdrop of the difficult and sad stories they tell of their past – it must be transformational for them all.  This certainly shows them that they have a valuable place in society, and that with a little encouragement, albeit with some inspirational leadership and determination, care and sensitivity, that they have a future after Bronzefield.

Well done to everyone, the professional cast, the organisation, the prison authorities for allowing these productions to take place, and most of all the ‘residents’ who can look back at this production with a smile their face, a warm glow inside, and renewed confidence for the rest of their lives.”


“Last nights show was another stunning success. Several of my party found it quite an emotional occasion and the newcomers were hugely impressed.  To do year after year what you do with Pimlico Opera and to raise the money to pay for it seems to me like a full time job.”

“As you know  I`ve worked with arts in the criminal justice sector nearly 30 years. I just wanted to drop a note to say the impact Pimlico Opera have in Prisons is amazing. All my guests thought Hairspray was totally brilliant in every way.  A very inspiring way to spend Saturday evening.”