The premiere of a new historical play made its debut at the County Assembly Rooms in Lincoln to raise much needed funds to support Shannon Trust make sure nobody is left out of learning.
Graham Keal, Shannon Trust volunteer at HMP Lincoln, was among the 80 other attendees of ‘Katherine Swynford and the Countess Joan’ on Friday 13 May 2022, where they raised a fantastic £395.
Written by local Margaret Crompton, the play was a dramatic encounter with the resurrected spirits of Geoffrey Chaucer, Queen Eleanor, John of Gaunt, Lincoln’s own Bishop Grosseteste and Lincolnshire poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, among other historical figures, as they escaped overnight entombment to debate, gossip and grumble at Lincoln Cathedral.
The audience had to use their imagination as The Script in Hand company set the scene without the aid of scenery or costumes, reading from their scripts rather than having to learn every word.
Graham Keal spoke highly of the company after being at the drama to talk about his work as a volunteer, and how the charity supports people in prison to improve their literacy and numeracy.
“It was a tremendous gesture for Margaret and her players to donate their time and talent to the Shannon Trust in performing this new play,” said Graham. “In addition to raising nearly £400, the event also helped to raise the charity’s profile and to interact with many members of the public who had been unaware of the work we do in their own neighbourhood and beyond.”
Playwright Margaret Crompton, who also directed, explained why she and her company of actors chose to dedicate the evening’s proceeds to Shannon Trust:
“Several of us have experience in education, social work and prison visiting. We needed a small organisation, preferably with a local connection, in which our modest contribution would not be swallowed by administration. We found the Shannon Trust. In 2019, former Shannon Trust staff member Alison Lee represented the Trust at the first performance of a previous play, ‘Anne Askew’, bringing a display of materials.
“The premiere of our new play was a glorious evening. The play came to life through the skill of the actors and the engagement of the audience. I sat at the back, redundant, and glowing with happiness.
“Even more than in 2019, I see how we wear our literacy lightly. Every member of Script in Hand can read and write without effort. Some of us are disadvantaged by difficulties in remembering a script: thus, Script in Hand. We’re grateful that our own literacy enables us not only to act, but also to use that joy to enable other people to gain this gift of reading and writing.”
Shannon Trust supports thousands of adults to read every year, but 16% of people in the community, and 57% of people in prison still either can’t read, or struggle to.
Fundraising events like this means Shannon Trust can help more people turn their lives around through learning to read.
If you’d like to hold a fundraising event for Shannon Trust, get in touch.
You can also donate to their Spring appeal.
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