Celebrating 25 years in November

Celebrating 25 years

We’re celebrating 25 years of the Irene Taylor Trust throughout November up to 25/11/20, which officially marks our 25th anniversary! Join us as we share memories & music, reflect in our free webinar series and make some noise at our Birthday Gig!

1st November: How ITT began…

It’s day 1 of our 25th anniversary celebrations, so let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start): It’s 1995. Sara Lee, a recent Butler Trust award winner for her work as music coordinator at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, is asked by the Taylor family to set up a charity in memory of Irene Taylor, who had been on the awarding panel, a great believer in the benefits of music in prisons. Sara had no idea how to set up a charity, but that wasn’t going to stop her! With help from the Taylor family, prison contacts and old music colleague Nick Hayes, Sara started to develop the Music in Prisons programme…

25 years later it’s still going strong! As well as working in prisons, ITT has grown gradually in response to the needs of beneficiaries, in 2012 expanding to work in the community with former prisoners on the Sounding Out programme, and with young people from challenging circumstances on Making Tracks projects.

2nd November: 25 years of Music in Prisons 

3rd November: ITT Children’s Songbook

Children's Songbook

Over the last 25 years we’ve written some fantastic songs for children; now we’re delighted to share a Children’s Songbook resource with everything you need to make music with little ones! We’ve chosen 5 of our favourite children’s songs and provided full score & lyrics, backing tracks and the original recordings – check it out here!

To get you inspired, Minnie Birch, one of our amazing prison musicians in residence, has covered one of the songs:

4th November: Reflections Webinar – why create music in prisons?

Our first Reflections Webinar was on a subject very close to our hearts. Chaired by Artistic Director Sara Lee, we were joined by special guests Stuart Hogben (Education Manager at HMP Littlehey and Operations Manager for PeoplePlus), Michael Goodey (one of our Musicians in Residence) and musician Noble, who we have worked with on both Music in Prisons and Sounding Out.

Here are just a few highlights from an inspiring and insightful conversation:

Why is it important to have music in your prison?

Stuart: “Music is a great vehicle for learning to work together, take criticism, spark imagination – it’s vitally important… It creates a buzz – it engages guys in wanting to join in – it has a knock-on effect.”

Michael: “It turns a dingy space into somewhere vibrant… It lets people get over bravado, let their guard down, share ideas… So many times a song tells you more about someone than you’d ever know otherwise.”

Noble: “Music means a lot – it’s how I express my life – happy/sad, you can relate to music… These kind of classes kept me going – music, creating something, I’m there… you’re helping people… It gives prisoners hope. Other people get to hear what you’re doing – you get feedback – it gives you confidence.”

Making the argument for music in prisons:

Noble: “In prison every day is the same – with music, every day is different – your mind’s active – it gave me a plan, goals… it inspired me.”

Michael: “It’s simple; being in prison IS the punishment – while there people need opportunities to break cycles and change pathways…”

Stuart: “Giving prisoners hope and skills is good for all society – it’s win-win… all the arts should be more valued in prison education.”

Join us for the next webinar! Info here.

5th November: Music in Prisons special projects & collaborations 

On Twitter and Facebook for an epic ‘Throwback Thursday’ thread we took a look at some of the special projects and collaborations Music in Prisons has been part of over the last 25 years! Teaming up with other artists/creatives/organisations has resulted in many wonderful cross-arts projects…

Including with writer Peter Stafford and artist/photographer Lizzie Coombes on award-winning songbook ‘Beyond The Secret Door’ (2003), ‘A Picture of Me’ (2006) and ‘Two Sides‘ (2012).

With Rideout (Creative Arts for Rehabilitation) on ‘A Bigger Sound‘ (2011) and ‘Ghost Songs of the Conscientious Objectors‘ (2019).

With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on ‘A Bigger Sound’ (2011) and the pilot UK ‘Lullaby Project‘ (2017).

With Synergy Theatre Project on ‘Fallout‘ (2009) and ‘A Raisin in the Sun‘ (2016).

With Kestrel Theatre Company on original prison pantomime ‘Jack a Lad in the Beanstalk‘ (2018).

With composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, photographer Lizzie Coombes and video editor Andy Wood on London 2012 Cultural Olympiad commission from PRS Foundation for New Music 20×12 ‘Beyond This‘ (2012) and ‘Bridges‘ (2016).

With Lizzie Coombes on exhibitions ‘Where I’m Coming From’ (2007), ‘Inside Out‘ (2008) and ‘Bridges’ (2016).

6th November: Reimagined Songs – Mother Earth film 

As part of our ‘Reimagined Songs’ project supported by Arts Council England, our professional musicians have created their own versions of songs from our projects over the years. Today ‘Mother Earth’, originally written on a Music in Prisons project, reinterpreted by Craig Fortnam, one of our musicians in residence, who also created this accompanying film:


Here’s the original version of Mother Earth:

7th November: Reimagined Songs – Let It Live Again & This House Is On Fire

Two more Reimagined Songs from Music in Prisons:

Let It Live Again – covered by Emma Williams and Rob Willson


Let It Live Again – original Music in Prisons version


This House Is On Fire – covered by Abi Kitching and Mark Howe


This House Is On Fire – original Music in Prisons version


8th November: Sounding Out montage film 

9th November: Reimagined Songs – Song Cry from Sounding Out

As part of our ‘Reimagined Songs’ project supported by Arts Council England, our professional musicians have created their own versions of songs from our projects over the years. Today ‘Song Cry’, originally written on a Sounding Out project, reinterpreted by Abi Kitching, one of our project musicians, who also created this accompanying film: 

10th November: Insights from the project team part 1

We’re delighted to share the first of two films made by our musicians, of our musicians offering some amazing insights into our work. Nick Hayes has been an integral part of ITT since 1995 and has put together this brilliant film featuring many of the musicians who deliver our projects.

11th November: Reflections webinar – training participants to lead and Reimagined Song: Anytime 

Anytime – covered by Charles Stuart and Tom Wright-Goss


Anytime – original version by Sounding Out band Platform 7

12th November: Insights from the project team part 2

13th November: Sounding Out, the story so far….

Today we celebrated the bands to emerge from the Sounding Out programme for former prisoners since it was established in 2012 – Platform 7, Inside Out, Multiplay and The Pinnacle – in a special blog which you can read here. It includes music and highlights for all four bands.

14th November: the penultimate Musical Consequences!

15th November: 25 – a celebratory album created online in collaboration 

Supported by Arts Council England, ‘25’ was a special lockdown project to bring together ITT’s professional musicians and those from the Sounding Out and Making Tracks programmes to collaborate on creating original music online for an album celebrating 25 years of the Irene Taylor Trust.

Starring musicians from Sounding Out & Making Tracks: Double M, Lawrence, Helen, LY4N, L U C I N E, Mitch, Montell & John and supported by ITT musicians: Emma Williams, Richard Day, Mark Howe, Emily Jacques & Rex Horan. Together they have created some really special tracks – enjoy!


16th November: A short film about Making Tracks 

17th November: Changing The Record podcast episode 1

As part of a project supported by Arts Council England, we are delighted to have worked with Stabl on a short podcast series ‘Changing The Record’ exploring the impact of our work inside and out of prisons. Episode 1 tells Patricia’s Music in Prisons story – it’s an emotional listen, but in a positive, uplifting way! Available in all the pod places, listen/subscribe on Apple Podcasts here

18th November: Reflections webinar – Moving Projects Online 

19th November: Young Producers #throwbackthurday 


20th November: Reimagined Songs – Level Up from Making Tracks by Charles Stuart 

21st November: Reimagined Songs – Sun’s Out from Making Tracks by Mercy Levett


Mercy’s soulful cover of a Making Tracks classic is available to view here.

22nd November: the FINAL ITT Musical Consequences: Endless Sands


It’s our FINAL Musical Consequences (#9) – instigated and introduced by wonderful Abi Kitching, ‘Endless Sands’ is a bit of fever dream to see the series out, including a stirring recital of Ozymandias. The visuals were originally from the ‘Inside Out’ special Music in Prisons project in 2008, filmed by our fabulous long-term collaborator Lizzie Coombes – they’ve been messed around with to suit the music, dooming the team to endlessly setting up and packing away the equipment (isn’t that how it feels on every project?!). You can watch it here.

23rd November: The Lullaby Project – BBC Proms At Home film

Lullaby Project featured on BBC proms at home

We are delighted that BBC Proms has given us permission to share this beautiful little film made about Lullaby Project for the ‘Proms at Home’ series, as part of our #ITT25 celebrations – watch it here.

24th November: Reflections Webinar – Collaboration / Changing the Record podcast episode 2


Listen to ‘Changing the Record’ on apple podcasts here.

25th November – 25th Birthday Show, 7pm 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: