Log In

Reset Password

Westgate inmates ‘enthused and engaged’ by theatre group’s workshop

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Westgate Correctional Facility inmates enjoyed a theatre workshop with Actors From The London Stage (Photograph supplied)

Inmates at Westgate took part in a workshop run by a British theatre group that explored communication and emotional control.

The workshop was part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts outreach programme and saw five actors of the Shakespeare company Actors From The London Stage take part along with ten inmates.

Cindy Campbell, the executive director of the festival, said: “We were very excited to create this initiative with the support of the Commissioner of Corrections [Keeva Joell-Benjamin].

“Theatre is an amazing vehicle to teach valuable lessons which will instil skills for social re-entry. Acting is all about communication, about telling your story so that it is heard positively.

“Actors learn to listen, to understand their own body language and body language of others, to control their breathing, and to accept errors and learn from mistakes. All these skills which translate directly to life.”

The actors, who are based in London and the University of Notre Dame, in the United States, used theatre games to create a safe and fun environment to learn.

Westgate Correctional Facility inmates enjoyed a theatre workshop with Actors From The London Stage (Photograph supplied)

Anne Odeke, a member of the visiting company, added: “Acting in its simplicity is about connection. As a group of British Shakespearean actors, we had the absolute privilege of being invited into Westgate Correctional Facility to work with and connect with several of its inmates.

“Drama teaches teamwork, builds confidence, invites those who normally prefer to hide in shadows to step forward into the light, and supports the knowledge that it's OK to make mistakes, it's how we pick ourselves up that's important.

“I've had several mishaps on stage in my ten years as an actor but, as we all know, 'the show must go on'.

“Within the chapel, we managed to create an environment that felt safe enough for inmates and staff to make mistakes and laugh about it. Laughter is a wonderful thing, it heals. Within those two hours it was like everyone forgot 'the rules', and for a time could be themselves.

“We offered them ways to control their emotions — techniques we use as actors when having to perform at venues such as Shakespeare's Globe in front of 1,500 people.”

Ms Joell-Benjamin said that the inmates were “enthused and engaged” throughout the workshop.

She said: “I am glad that we were able to join forces to make this happen. I look forward to possibly working together in the future when there are other opportunities.”

The 48th annual festival runs until May.

• For more information, visit BermudaFestival.org

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 10, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated January 10, 2023 at 7:29 am)

Westgate inmates ‘enthused and engaged’ by theatre group’s workshop

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon