Specialists in site-specific theatre
Montfort’s March, May 2014 – a new play that commemorated the 750th Anniversary of the Battle of Lewes. Received 5*s in the Brighton Argus, an Argus Award for Artistic Excellence at the Brighton Festival & it was shortlisted for the best new play at the Brighton Festival Fringe 2014.
The Company was shortlisted for the 2011 South East Co-operative Community Awards.
The Company has just finished Montfort’s March on the South Downs, Movers and Shakers at the de la Warr Pavilion, and The Anne Poupard Theatre Trails, at the Steyning Festival
Montfort’s March - May 2014
A site-specific play that commemorated the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes. It is the morning before the Battle of Lewes and Simon de Montfort’s army is camped in East Chiltington ready to set off onto the Downs to Lewes, to surprise Henry III. Do you have what it takes to join De Montfort’s Army, and are you willing to help the spread of democracy?
Montfort’s March was part of Battle of Lewes 750, and was supported by Art’s Council England, the South Downs National Park, the Houses of Parliament, the East Sussex Art’s Partnership, Lewes District Council, Lewes Town Council, Adams and Remers, Bill’s of Lewes, and East Chiltington and Hamsey Parish Councils.
Steyning Festival Theatre Trails - June 2014
The return of the ever popular Theatre Trails – 6 unperformed and unpublished plays are given their first outing with these rehearsed readings, with each play performed in a different venue. Lunch is sandwiched between the 2nd and 3rd plays, and there is a Q & A session at the end.
Movers and Shakers at de la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill – April 2014
A new multi media play celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bexhill Museum with youth participants from Bexhill, music composed by DV8 students from Bexhill, and film created by DV8 students from Brighton.
Mr Punch’s Pleasure Palace
It’s 1933 and even a small seaside town like Bexhill feels the wind of change. The socialist Earl De La Warr is leading the way to build a People’s Palace on the seafront, but will the town follow his lead?
Written by Suzi Hopkins, and directed by Stephen Israel, this site specific promenade production was built around the De La Warr Pavilion, and the Colonnade, at Bexhill. With a community cast of 42, working alongside professional actors, director and designer, this production beat the summer gales with the enthusiasm of the cast.
“On a very, very windy but wonderful Thursday evening I saw your production of Mr Punch’s Palace and was struck by the energy and skill of the performance ~ even helped carry Mr Punch’s booth in the gale…good fun!”
Up In Smoke
Performed on a steam train travelling between Tunbridge Wells and Groombridge, this site specific production looked at the effects of Great War and the general election held on December 14th 1918, when women voted for the very first time.
Commissioned by The Weald Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme, in partnership with the Tunbridge Wells Museum and the Spa Valley Railway.
“A unique experience.”
Where Be Dragons
St Leonard’s Forest played host to a tale of dragons, smugglers and Percy Bysshe Shelley, in this family theatre trail.
Commissioned by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, and supported by WSCC and the Forestry Commission.
The Jigsaw Puzzle
This modern interpretation of Hippolytus was written as a celebration of the centenary of the Stoneland Players (their first ever performance was Hippolytus in 1910). It was performed by, and for, the community of West Hoathly in the beautiful Church and Churchyard, and the topiary gardens of the Jacobean Manor House. Nearly all the characters were based on real people who lived in West Hoathly at the time of the 1911 census. This play, with traditional folk music, was commissioned by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, and supported by the Art’s Council, WSCC, Mid Sussex DC & West Hoathly PC.
And that will never be…
This site specific theatre trail led the audience through the strictures of Puritan Sussex to the narrow mindedness of Victorian England, sampling fresh gingered bread on the way. Set amidst the historical buildings of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, with traditional English folksongs and rumbustious humour. Commissioned by the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum and supported by WSCC & Awards for All.
A site specific family theatre trail at Broadwater Warren RSPB Reverse, The Professor and Miss Daphne Crufts (together with her pooch Lady), argued and explored the conservation issues surrounding regeneration of the ancient lowland heath site.
Commissioned by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, and supported by ESCC and the RSPB.
Peacehaven on Special Offer
This site specific play, with music, performed in ‘The Dell’ on the seafront, celebrated the eccentric development of the town of Peacehaven from the 1912 up to the 1950s. It was commissioned by Peacehaven TC, supported by ESCC, the Co-op & Southern Water.
Gert & Daisy & the Irish Affair
The famous music hall duo, ‘Gert and Daisy’, led their audience through the beautiful town of Steyning, recreating with songs and humour, the tragic story of Charles Stuart Parnell and Kitty O’Shea.
Commissioned by the Steyning Festival and supported by WSCC.
Off the Buses!
Audiences were taken to the heart of unions and racism in 1950’s Britain, as they rode vintage buses, answered old fashioned telephones, joined a wildcat strike, and ate spam sandwiches!
This site-specific play was written for the eclectic and wonderful Amberley Working Museum, and was commissioned by Poems and Puddings.
Reg Varney, eat your heart out Blakey
Directed by Stephen Israel, and commissioned by Poems & Puddings, this Site Specific Trail explored the conflict of love and duty across two and a half centuries. The audience experienced the action in and around the period houses of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, against the backdrop of the rolling South Downs.
This play looked at artists and poets who had lived in the town of Steyning (including W B Yeats, Hannah Gluckstein and Aleister Crowley). The audience were led through the historic homes and streets of Steyning by a local historian, as the tale of fame, failure and reward unfolded around them.
Commissioned for the inaugural Steyning Festival by the festival & Poems & Puddings.
“One of the most amazing things the festival has produced” Artistic director of the Steyning festival
Love and anti-Semitism were rife around the woods and lake of Buchan Country Park, as the audience were led by an ESCC Park Ranger on this site specific theatre trail.
Commissioned by Poems & Puddings as part of the Walking West Sussex Festival
And His Name Was Jim…
Directed by Clive Holland, this 18 date tour of Village Halls and Art Centres in Kent and Sussex, was funded by WSCC, Applause, Lewes District Council and Rother Council.
“Are you connected.”, October 2014
An interactive play looking at Social Media to be peformed by the Bourne Free Youth Club (SASBAH) at Ratton School, Eastbourne, in partnership with First Hand Productions (this performance is not open to the general public).
Newhaven Project, Jan – June 2015
The creation of new play, in partnership with the Sussex Community Development Association, looking at the history and employment of Newhaven over the years – with a cast of up to 50 young people from the Newhaven Area.
The Company has worked extensively with the Community during projects. Groups worked with include:
- The Sussex Youth Parliament
- Chailey Heritage School
- Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
- Families for Children
- The Flintstone Centre
- The St Andrew’s Primary School, Steyning
- Rydon Community College
- The Stoneland Players
- Chichester Boys Club
- The Towers Convent School
- Bourne Free Youth Club, Eastbourne
- Creative Cafe for Culture Shift
About The Company
The Company was formed in 2006, as a non-profit making organisation, with the aim of bringing accessible, quality theatre into the heart of rural communities in Sussex and Kent.
An initial tour of 22 Village Halls and Arts Centres has been followed by 11 commissions of new site-specific plays that reflect the history, landscape and culture of each site.
We are a local company, working alongside local people, tapping into the huge pool of talent in Kent and Sussex, employing actors, musicians, writers, directors and designers from these areas to work with us.
Patrons: Hamish Black, Raymond Briggs and Teresa Wells
Suzi trained in mime and drama, working for 15 years as an actor before switching careers to become a writer. She has completed two works of Children’s Fiction, has adapted and performed “The Other Wise Man”, and has written eleven site specific plays for The Company.
Stephen worked as an actor/director for 20 years before setting up The Company. He believes passionately in locally based arts.
Comments or questions are welcome.