Pimlico Opera aims to use music and drama to advance personal development, particularly with younger people. Artistic excellence is an essential part of achieving this aim. Back in 1987, the company was started by Wasfi Kani OBE and was probably the first to specialise in performing in unusual places – hospitals, wonderful country houses, banks, prisons. In 1991 the company was awarded Arts Council funding. Today it receives no public subsidy. Pimlico Opera is the sister company of Grange Park Opera which was founded in 1998.

Pimlico Opera in Prisons


Pimlico Opera has an excellent model for this project. The cast of mainly inmates, taken from their normal regime, work full-time for five weeks with professionals to produce a show of the highest quality with a full orchestra.

There are several public performances and further performances for fellow prisoners and prison staff.

There is powerful evidence for the benefit that this work has to society, the public purse and the wider economy. Improvements in prisoner rehabilitation and the lowering of re-offending can only be a good thing.

Our next project:

HMP Bronzefield

Fri 6 March – Sat 14 March 2020

Performance History

In 1989 Pimlico Opera performed two operas in Wormwood Scrubs: Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Walton’s The Bear. The first joint production with prisoners took place a year later with people serving life sentences.

1991 HMP Wormwood Scrubs Sweeney Todd
1992 HMP Wandsworth West Side Story
1993 HMP Wandsworth Guys & Dolls
1995 HMP Wandsworth West Side Story
1996 Mountjoy Prison, Ireland West Side Story
1997 HMP Bullingdon West Side Story
1999 HMP Downview Threepenny Opera
2001 HMP Winchester Threepenny Opera
2002 HMP Winchester West Side Story
2003 HMP Wormwood Scrubs Guys & Dolls
2004 HMP Ashwell Assassins
2005 HMP Coldingley Assassins
2006 HMP Bronzefield Chicago
2007 HMP Wandsworth Les Misérables
2008 HMP Kingston Sweeney Todd (project cancelled)
2009 HMP Wandsworth West Side Story
2010 HMP Wandsworth Carmen
2011 HMP Send, Sugar
2012 HMP Erlestoke Les Misérables
2013 HMP Erlestoke West Side Story
2014 HMP Bronzefield Sister Act
2015 HMP ISIS Our House
2017 HMP High Down Les Misérables
2018 HMP Bronzefield Sweet Charity


Members of the public taken into prison


Years working in prisons

Pimlico Opera in Primary Schools

Since September 2013 Primary Robins has brought music and singing into the lives of schoolchildren who have little exposure to it. Forty years ago, every primary school would have had children sitting around a piano learning songs. This essential part of growing up has been a casualty of today’s curriculum.

Primary Robins has reintroduced this lifelong skill back into the classroom with weekly half hour classes for children in Hampshire, Durham, Nottingham and Surrey.


Please consider supporting our work in Prisons and Primary Schools

Support Pimlico Opera