2017-104-Arts Project

Arts Project

Hello friend,

It’s been another interesting week of ups and downs. One of the performers was stopped from coming across for our Sunday harmony rehearsal. This rehearsal has been happening for the past few weeks and was authorised at Governor level, yet, here we had a lower manager overriding this authority despite the 2 wing senior officers being fine with this rehearsal.

Next: I was twice missed off the list for the 2 extra rehearsals this week. I got across both times in the end but not without the associated hassle from staff: “I’m not running after you all day,” said one. That seems to be the attitude from some of the staff regarding this project; however, they are in the minority; there is lots of staff who want to attend the shows.

We’ve started to work out how to use the set cubes. It’s very complicated. Not only do we have to think about their use but also what colours will be on which sides for the audience to see and the order in which they will be used. One of the guys made some mini-cubes for me to experiment with. With the help of a couple of other guys, I think we’ve cracked it. Phew! They are being made this week; we need them to be painted next week so we can rehearse with them; that’ll only leave about 6 weeks before show time! I’m very concerned about the lack of time.

We’ve now got over 200 of the seats filled but we’re not allowed to have friends or family in attendance; a real shame. We have been told that we can send a copy of the DVD out, though.

We all got measured up for our costumes. Y’know, sometimes, when I’m on my own, I think about where we are with this project and I just start chuckling to myself. Given ‘where’ we are, it is such a weird but fantastic thing to have happened.

Predictably, one of the staff naysayers, who was really negative about our Arts Council application (they have had 2 rejected applications), isn’t going to be involved with the artwork aspect of the project. Ironically, that paints a picture… We have a plan B, which may work out better, anyway.

The rehearsal itself went okay. Still too many errors but starting to sound much more solid and tight overall. I feel that this will come together in time.

In the afternoon, we had a guy from Stretch (recording company) come in to meet with us. We got as far as introductions before he was asked to step out of the room; we never saw him again! You couldn’t write stuff. This company are cleared to go into lower category prisons but haven’t been security cleared for high security prisons. My understanding was that this had been facilitated. It turns out that he was visiting on a day pass. You still have to have some form of clearance for a day pass, which, presumably, he got. So what happened? This is not only an embarrassment for the prison, it has lost us precious time we don’t have, plus, who is paying him for his time? Is the member of staff who took this decision expecting the fee to come out of the Arts Council funding? It feels at the moment that we have the higher management working hard to make this happen but some of the lower management causing problems which threaten to derail important aspects of the project. It’s very frustrating and aggravating.

I’ve got the storyboard for the digital projections to do today. More work,. I’ll be glad when it’s all over and I can take a break. Although, I think Alicante will be out of the question; although, I’d rather go somewhere interesting like Norway.

Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 5th August 2017

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