Egyptian papier mache masks among 123 free shows enjoyed by Scots cons

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SCOTTISH prisoners have been treated to opera performances, beekeeping presentations and Ancient Egyptian papier mache classes over the past two years.

High-security offenders across the country have enjoyed an astonishing 123 concerts, presentations and shows since 2013.

The information, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, details the weird and wonderful events that have been offered, many of them paid from the Common Goods Fund, made up of public donations and prison profits made from selling various goods.

Long-term male offenders at HMP Shotts, which has housed the likes of Alex Robb – who took part in the murder of a man whose neck was sawn with a bread knife – were given a seminar on Scottish dinosaurs earlier this year.

They were also treated to an Anne Frank exhibition and a talk about the famous Italian artist Giovanni Piranesi.

Meanwhile, the all-male prisoners at HMP Edinburgh were shown performances of the Vagina Monologues on three different occasions in 2014.

Prisoners enjoyed a variety of entertainment
Prisoners enjoyed a variety of entertainment

The play deals with all aspects of the feminine experience, including menstruation, masturbation, orgasm, birth and menopause – and tickets would usually cost around £30 on the other side of prison walls.

Artistic Edinburgh inmates were also given the chance to attend papier mache mask making classes as part of an Africa and Ancient Egypt project.

In 2014 HMP Greenock, home to murderers and thieves, put on two comedy shows featuring award-winning Des McLean and Gary Little.

Normal citizens wanting to watch funnyman Des would be expected to pay roughly £13 for one of his shows, but prisoners were given the opportunity free of charge.

The data also showed that several establishments have put on seminars to educate inmates’ children about animals.

But HMP Glenochil, which houses high, medium and low male offenders, took it one step further and hosted two beekeeping presentations for prisoners last year.

The prisoners, who were given the lectures free of charge, would be expected to pay about £32 to join a beekeepers association in the outside world.

Musically-minded inmates at HMP Inverness were treated to a Scottish opera performance – usually costing £10 a head – and male voice choir last year, while budding historians at HMP Perth were given a series of talks on WW1.

The most expensive entertainment provided was at HMP Dumfries, where over £3,500 from the Common Goods Fund was spent on hosting a Sectarianism play titled “Scarfed For Life”.

Dumfries prisoners were also treated to a £500 talk from author Robert Twigger, who wrote Angry White Pyjamas and Other Stories, as part of a book festival in 2013.

Possibly the most famous prison gig of all time involved country music legend Johnny Cash who played at Folsom Prison in California in 1968.

His live performance was recorded and turned into an album, including songs such as ‘Folsom Prison Blues’.

The Scottish Prison Service were unable to provide anyone of the calibre of the Man in Black.

But inmates at HMP Greenock were treated last year to a show by Urban Acid Frenzy, a Glasgow-based soulful funk rock jazz band.

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