The Prince of Wales visited Dartmoor Prison in Devon on Saturday, where he was treated to a musical performance by a number of the prison’s inmates.
Prince Charles was at the prison to learn more about the work of the Prison Choir Project, which is aiming to find a way to reduce the number of re-offenders by building self-esteem.
The inmates were joined by professional artists for the show, which included songs from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ and finished will a powerful rendition of ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ from Les Miserables. Over a dozen prisoners belted out the tunes, which the heir to the throne seemed to enjoy.
Prince Charles, who is a fan of classical music, was welcomed to the category C men’s prison by the facility’s governor, Bridie Oakes-Richards, and the Minister for Prisons and Probation, Rory Stewart MP.
The Prison Choir Project, which aims to rehabilitate prisoners through the study of opera, song, and choral music, was founded by Adam Green, who said that the project was a wonderful experience for the inmates.
Mr Green also added that it was a “huge honour” to perform in front of The Prince of Wales and to inform him about the project. He noted that a prison is usually “an unusual environment to hear Carmen the opera”.
Over 400 prisoners have engaged with the project to date which spans multiple prisons. Of the prisoners’ talents, Mr Green said: “They can really sing, they really can.
“I think they would stand up against any professional chorus.”
Mr Green also noted how the prisoners had “thrown themselves headlong into this opportunity and I think bettered themselves through music. It has been, for all, and extraordinary experience.”
One performer, Clara Kanter said that Prince Charles’ visit demonstrated to the prisoners that there are “really important people aware of them, listening to them (so they) feel like they matter.”
— MARK LEECH FRSA (@prisonsorguk) March 24, 2018
Kate Symons-Joy, who played Carmen in the performance, said she wanted as many people as possible to see the effort the prisoners had put in.
She remarked: “They are all so committed. We are very privileged to be here with them, but they also I think see it as a privilege that they are involved and they take it very seriously and support each other.
“It is quite amazing to watch actually.”
The Prince then spoke to one of the inmates involved in the facility’s garden project, and praised his gardening skills. Charles is a keen gardener himself, and is well-known to spend a lot of time in his gardens at Highgrove.
You can view more photos from the visit here.