Issue date: 22 January 2002

Prisoners from Horfield Prison are working on a bespoke carousel for the latest musical performance by UWE’s Centre for Performing Arts (CPA). The CPA will present Roger and Hammerstein’s much loved musical Carousel at the QEH Theatre from Tuesday 4 to Saturday 9 March.

Producer, Ruth Snary, said, “There was one major problem to overcome, as the set for this musical obviously demands a carousel. Because the stage at QEH is too small for us to bring on a full sized carousel in addition to our large all-student cast, we have teamed up with Horfield Prison. As is always the case, we are working on a shoestring budget and it is marvelous that the prisoners are building the carousel for us, all we need to supply is the wood and the brief.”

The carousel is made out of wood and MDF. The horses heads and legs are all designed to be displayed to show sideways and will be painted in white and gold. The roof and floor of the carousel will be brightly painted. The horses will then be fixed to a revolving turntable and steel poles will be fixed to the turntable and bound in wire.

Elfed Jones, Head of Programmes, at HMP Bristol said, “We are keen to make a good impression in the community. The prison is hidden behind a big wall but it is also an integral part of the community. It can be difficult to demonstrate positive things that happen in prisons so working with UWE has provided a chance for us to show that some very good things do happen in this establishment. This project has given the prisoners an opportunity to do something productive which will be enjoyed by a lot of people. It’s an exciting project for the prisoners to work on because special skills are needed and it gives them an opportunity to express themselves.

“The prison is a key player in the city and is committed to developing as many partnerships as possible with the common aim of reducing crime and helping prisoners resettle on release back into the community. The Jade Project, a recent initiative at the prison, works in partnership with groups in the community to help remand and short sentence prisoners to successfully resettle on release. In addition our comprehensive drugs strategy offers similar links to those who wish to address their problems and resettle.”

One of the officers involved in the Jade Project, Officer Kevin Hall, recently won the coveted Butler Trust Award, a much-prized award for those working in prisons.

Once the show has finished its run at the QEH, UWE will be offering the carousel to the Children’s Hospice Southwest.

Carousel is full of well known songs, If I Loved You, When I Marry Mr Snow and You’ll Never Walk Alone. The UWE musical productions have for the past 12 years uncovered a wealth of talent at the University and this production will be no exception. Tickets are available from the QEH Box Office Tel 0117 9250551


Editor’s notes

Photographs of the carousel work in progress will be available on in the afternoon of Wednesday 23 January via the UWE Press Office.

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