Pimlico Opera in Prison
Fri 6 March – Sat 14 March 2020
Pimlico opera’s prison project began in 1987.
The first performance in prison took place in 1989 at Wormwood Scrubs, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Walton’s The Bear.
The first joint production with prisoners took place a year later with people serving life sentences.
Since then we have taken over 60,000 members of the public into prison.
We have worked with more than 1,000 prisoners and have given crucial first employment to prisoners on their release.
Over 10,000 prisoners have seen an opera performance.
How It Works
A cast, mainly of inmates, are taken from their normal regime and work full-time for five weeks with professionals to produce a show of the highest quality with a full orchestra.
Five weeks of intensive rehearsal, all day, every weekday, can be challenging. Many prisoners have never been to the theater, some cannot read, English is a second language for some.
Prison staff bind together the rehearsal process with prison life: legal and family visits, unexpected lock-downs, court hearings and so on.
There are several public performances and further performances for fellow prisoners and prison staff.
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.
With professional help, I have learnt to act and dance and to express my own feelings. I have become much happier and more confident.
The project teaches us to push ourselves through our fears and has given me a new lease of life
I integrate better with other fellow residents, prison staff. I believe our prisoners and prison staff need this project
Testimonials from cast members from Sweet Charity at HMP Bronzefield 2018
HMP Bronzefield Sweet Charity
HMP High Down Les Miserables
HMP ISIS Our House
HMP Bronzefield Sister Act
2013 & 2012
HMP Erlestoke, Wiltshire
Les Miserables and West Side Story
HMP Send Surrey Sugar
2010 & 2009
Carmen The Musical and West Side Story
HMP Kingston Sweeney Todd
HMP Wandsworth Les Miserables
HMP Bronzefield, Middlesex Chicago
HMP Coldingley, Surrey Assassins
HMP Ashwell, Leicestershire Assassins
HMP Wormwood Scrubs Guys & Dolls
2001 & 2002
West Side Story and Threepenny Opera
HMP Downview, Surrey Threepenny Opera
HMP Bullingdon, Oxford West Side Story
Mountjoy Prison, Ireland West Side Story
HMP Wandsworth West Side Story
1993 & 1992
HMP Wandsworth West Side Story and Guys & Dolls
HMP Wormwood Scrubs Sweeney Todd