The group represents the full range of prisoners at HMP Wormwood Scrubs; some are on remand, some are sentenced, some for the first time, some for the umpteenth, some are due out next month and some, on indeterminate sentences, may never get out. They are not the quietest prisoners - there seems to be a link between creativity and misbehaviour, between charisma and a habit for trouble. It has been a pleasure working with them, and we hope that this project will help improve their reputation on the wings.
Converting a prison chapel into a theatre is not easy. Considerable professional adjustments have been necessary for both OC and prison staff, as we each attempt to understand the conditions and imperatives the other works under. We have learned a lot about the enormously challenging job the prison does, as it attempts to simultaneously contain prisoners and rehabilitate them, arrange visits from their families and lawyers, and deliver them to the courts for trial and sentencing.
It has been a tough process but we have striven hard throughout to remember that this is, first and last, a place of punishment, and that our work must fit into the over-arching purpose of the prison service: to contain prisoners sentenced by the courts. We hope that the project has helped with the secondary purpose of the prison service, to reduce re-offending, and we look forward to working with all the actors as they prepare for release, and once they are free.