We are doing more in prison

Read about our new plans below




The project relies to on the generosity of trusts and individuals.

There is no public subsidy.

Please donate by joining one of these


The revised format

We have worked in prison since 1989 (35 years) and are revising the structure of our prison work by

(a) maintaining contact with the prison throughout the year with weekly sessions

(b) making the large-scale project biennial (once every two years).


Reasons for the change

The need for regular purposeful activity in prisons is greater than ever.

The Prison Reform Trust’s latest Bromley Briefing  details how little purposeful activity there is now in prisons, with almost nothing having changed since the lockdowns and extreme restrictions of the pandemic.

We know that rehabilitation is vital, but opportunities such as this are vanishingly rare.

Our three sources of funding (public donations, trust donations and ticket sales) have, since COVID, become precarious. That is why we need your support.

Why are we staying in HMP Bronzefield?

We will continue to work with HMP Bronzefield, one of only 13 UK Women’s prisons and the only purpose-built private prison for women in the UK. With so few prisons, a woman is usually a long way from her family and her children are often taken into care.

Bronzefield is the largest female prison in Europe, with a roll call of 572 in four house blocks with a mother & baby unit for 12 women and 13 babies up to the age of 18 months. The prison is operated by Sodexo Justice Services.

The Weekly Sessions

Throughout the year there will be weekly classes, headed by Tol Christie who has attended a week of induction in the prison to enable him to carry keys and escort other teachers – a pianist, a singer and a choreographer.  Not all teachers will be present every week.

The class will take place on Friday afternoons with roughly 20 prisoners. Once these have been established, there may be a second class in the morning. Content will include drama (including the prisoners’ own writing), singing and dance, building towards public showcases (in Spring 2024 and Autumn 2024).

These weekly sessions will offer more longevity, consistency and structure to the project. Since confidence, energy, teamwork, and positive thinking all contribute to rehabilitation and social integration, the weekly classes, like the large productions, can facilitate significant improvements, both in the way prisoners view themselves, and are viewed by others.

The large-scale project February 2025 

Every two years, there will be the intensive, transformative experience of rehearsing for and performing in a West-End standard production, in front of a paying public audience.

We plan to stage the musical, Made in Dagenham, based on the strike by the women at the Ford plant in Dagenham who made car seat covers. Their action led to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. Made in Dagenham had its West End premiere in 2014.

The prison are enthusiastic, and have applied to the Prison Service for approval.

From October 2024 onwards, the weekly classes will constitute rehearsals for  Made in Dagenham.

The intensive rehearsal period, with six hours of rehearsal every day, will run 27 Jan – 24 Feb.

There will be eight performances. Two for prisoners one for prison staff and five (Wed 26 Feb – Sun 2 March) for the public.


The total cost of 18 months of the work from Dec 2023 to May 2025 (the weekly classes and the large-scale project) are around £220k.



Did you know?

27% of the prison population were in care. Of the under 25s, 50% were in care.

45% of adults are re-convicted within a year of release but 97% express a desire to stop offending.

Of the 85k people in prison today, around 4k are women. There are very few women’s prisons, so an offender is often a long way from her family and her children are often taken into care.

Prisoner testimonials

There is powerful evidence for the benefit that this work has to society, the public purse and the wider economy. Improvements in prisoner rehabilitation and the lowering of re-offending can only be a good thing.

“Taking part in Pimlico Opera has been life changing”.

“Since doing the project I have gained so much self worth and confidence”.

“The project has allowed me the opportunity to invest my excess energy into something both positive and productive”.




Betty Blue Eyes

‘There’s a pig in the house’

Bronzefield Prison, November 2022

Betty Blue Eyes supporters

The project costs around £220,000 and is funded entirely by generous individuals and charitable trusts. It is not funded by the government.

The Bergman Lehane Trust
The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation
Brewster Maude Charitable Trust
Capital Group
Garfield Weston Foundation
The Ingram Trust
The John Coates Charitable Trust
Lord Barnby’s Foundation
The Mackintosh Foundation
The Mageni Trust
The Michael Bishop Foundation
Monday Charitable Trust
Schroders Charity Trust
and an anonymous trust

Jeremy & Rosemary Farr
Simon & Meg Freakley
Amanda Leathers
Lord & Lady Sassoon
Tschanz Family in memory of Stephen Gotsztony

Mr George Meagher
John Derrick & Preben Oeye
Sir Michael & Lady Parker
David Rendell & Ali Smith
Kristina Rogge
Fiona Squire
Hugh & Catherine Stevenson

Sir Gerald & Lady Acher
Mr Jasper Barnes
Mrs Margaret Bolam
Nan Brenninkmeyer
Jackie & Roy Colbran
Antoni & Caroline Daszewski
Marie & Etienne Deshormes
Will & Janine Hillary
Mr & Mrs P Joshua
Janey Langford
William & Felicity Mather
David & Jane Shalders
Richard & Helen Sheldon
In memory of Johnny Veeder QC
John & Carol Wates
David & Margaret Walker
and 2 anonymous donors

Christopher & Molly Beazley
Riccardo Calzavara
Mr Edward Carr
Mr Austin Erwin
Carolyn Saunders & Richard Ford
Alasdair Gillies
Rosalind Hedley-Miller
Sophie & Guy Holborn
Heather Joshi
Mr & Mrs John Knox
Ann Montier
Lalu Peck
Ed & Sara Peppiatt
Jo & John Petersen
Mr Cedric Pierce
Viv & Nigel Robson
Andrew & Melanie Rose
Victoria & John Salkeld
Mark & Louise Seligman
Bill Bougourd & Judith Thomas
Tom & Elaine Yeo
Fiona Yeomans
An Enthusiastic Supporter
and 2 anonymous donors

Yuki & Thomas Beardmore-Gray
Sue Clark
Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson & Professor Paul Collinson
Alasdair Findlay-Shirras
Sally Field
Sue & Colin Groves
Ms Angela Hakim
Alastair & Vanessa Hammerton
Richard Hanson-James
Mr Andrew Hine
Marion Howells
Abu Khamis
Mike & Jenny Lavin
Andrew & Lucy Lloyd-Davies
Marlene Maguire
Melissa Marsh
Sarah Matthews
Roger Mears & Joanie Speers
Angus Milne
Michael & Sarah More-Molyneux
Kathy Mylrea
Judy Perry
Jan & Michael Potter
Sabine Preston
Mr & Mrs G Pye
Marian Gilbart Read
Andrew Reid
David & Lynneth Salisbury
John & Maxine Samuels
The Scoones Family
Christopher & Tineke Stewart
John & Moyra Taylor
Paul & Wendy Tobia
Miss Florence Turner
Mave Turner
Dr Harriet Walford
Lindsey Scotney & Tony Ward
Peter & Tessa Watkins
Christian & Katie Wells
Mr Richard Wintour
Tim & Lizzie Wright
and 8 anonymous donors