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News from PrisonerActionNet

Disabled adults making music with prisoners at HMP Bronzefield

On 30th October, Lemos&Crane had the chance to witness the result of an exceptional music project at HMP Bronzefield; a joint performance of adults with varying needs together with some of the female prisoners of the Cat A prison. Every year, 4-5 students from the Orpheus Centre – a residential performing arts centre for young disabled artists founded by Sir Richard Stilgoe – join forces with 7-8 prisoners, and develop a programme of their own songs. The workshop lasts a whole week and all of the songs are written and composed during that time with the support of music tutors. The project is particularly impressive as it is achieved in only 3-4 hours per day.

On Friday, the group performed 12 songs in the prisons visitors’ centre, where prisoners, prison staff and visitors from the Orpheus Centre had come together for the event. It was a very moving performance, as Sir Richard took the time to elaborate on the background of many of the songs and who had written them. For example, we listened to a song written by a prisoner about overcoming her drug addiction, and she had dedicated it to her mum. Another woman had written a song about not being able to tell her son yet why she couldn’t come home, when she was speaking to him on the phone.

Projects like this underline that everyone can benefit from involvement in music-making and creativity. Goal-orientated projects such as those culminating in a performance provide an important framework in which offenders come together and collaborate, whilst gaining vital social skills. They are also often both therapeutic and remedial, providing a space and a context in which to express emotions, attitudes and fears and also a chance to overcome anxiety and receive positive feedback. With Re-imagine and the Good Prison project, Lemos&Crane are looking to make projects like this the rule, not the exception.

For more information about our work in prisons visit .



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