INterior visitors6 webArtangel's Inside makes a strident case for a cultural future for Reading Prison

Inside closed on Sunday 4 December, three months after it had been opened by Artangel as an artistic response to Oscar Wilde's nineteenth century incarceration in the prison.

The prison itself, and the story of Oscar Wilde’s time there, and the profile of some of the artists and writers Artangel were able to bring to the prison combined to create a unique and exceptionally attractive experience. 

Inside in numbers

  • The exhibition was open for 65 days
  • It attracted around 50,000 visitors - a daily average of 700 
  • 1200 free visits from schools and colleges
  • Partnerships with BBC Radio 4, National Trust, University of Reading, arts organisations in Reading
  • 10 actors and writers reading De Profundis in the Chapel – the first and last by Neil Bartlett and Patti Smith streamed live – all sold ou
  • 60 tours organised by the National Trust - all sold out
  • 8 performances by two Reading theatre companies, Reading between the Lines and Berserk Productions – sold out
  • 5 lectures by experts on Oscar Wilde organised with the University of Reading’s Department of English Literature
  • 75% visitors from Reading area, 12% London, 13% elsewhere in the UK + international
  • Extensive media coverage  
    • The Times, Sunday Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph, I newspaper and Evening Standard
    • TV and radio coverage on BBC – The One Show, BBC South, Channel 4, Radio 4s Front Row, Saturday Review and PM, ITV Meridian
    • International  press coverage included New York Times, Le Figaro, El Pais, La Reppublica, De Volkskrant and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Irish Times

James Lingwood, Co-director of Artangel said: "There is – as countless numbers of visitors have told us over the last 3 months – an extraordinary opportunity for Reading here. In cultural terms – and putting aside Reading Festival - Reading Prison could be Reading’s USP. Internationally renowned, architecturally significant, culturally resonant with its link one of the most fascinating literary figures of the past 150 years as well as hugely significant in shifting cultural attitudes to celebrity and sexuality.. and it is extremely well located.  Towns and cities around the world would kill for such exceptional possibilities."