2017-131-Arts Project

Arts Project

Hello friend,

Our first rehearsal this week went really well. It was another acoustic run through; we nearly made it to the end, bar 1 number.

However, the day of the second rehearsal was very stressful. Firstly, at the rehearsal itself, we had one of the choir causing problems. He was actually attempting to dictate to the team how the choir should be miked up because he wanted them to be louder. This is a guy with zero experience in sound engineering or performing. He went on and on about before going into a big sulk and, subsequently, spent the rest of the rehearsal moaning and droning on to the choir guys who were sitting next to him. There were a lot of complaints about this.

I was later told he thinks I have a personal issue with him. Why? Because he kept coming in at the wrong points, singing the wrong harmonies and I had the temerity to let him know! What did he expect? For me to say nothing? It’s not as though I started shouting and bawling, I didn’t. I let him know quietly and discreetly, with no fuss. What goes on in these people’s heads? The day got worse…

The team got together in the afternoon: we were told by a manager, that Security was reallocating the shows. Bear in mind that the guys had put in a huge effort to get advance bookings; we got 213. Each prisoner was given an option 1 out of 4 shows. Most of the guys told us they could attend 2, 3, or all 4 shows. This meant that they could make sure each prisoner was allocated a show they wanted to (or could only) attend.

So, Security was going to randomly allocate the shows. The consequences of this meant that there would be prisoners allocated shows they had not requested and subsequently, would be unable to attend. As you can imagine, the team were really unhappy at this news. Tickets had been printed with the prisoner’s show date on them and we now only had 6 days to go!

You should remind yourself of the history of this project, and then tell me I’m overreacting when I say that there are staff, some in senior positions, who do not want this project to be a success. I stated that this decision was a bad one and we would lose a high percentage of our audience. This was brushed off somewhat by the manager, who tried to placate us by saying that they would ensure that the shows were well attended. We saw this as nothing more than an attempt to pacify us. The day got worse…

We were told that we would have to wear our prison I Ds whilst performing. Given that we would all be in costume (one of which is a sinister bird-like costume), we all felt this was another ludicrous and oppressive action on their part. The day got worse…

It was then discovered that we did not have the drivers on the computer we were going to use to sound record the shows. We had the software but not the drivers to make it compatible with new mixing desk. The day got worse…

The laptop we were trying out for the digital projections (which, by the way, look fantastic) would not work with the files. By this point, we had all had enough. Morale was as low as the previous lowest point.

I have a real concerns as to whether we will be able to do the shows.

Be happy, be safe (be happy!?).
Graham Coutts, 6th October 2017

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