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The Company | Site Specific Theatre in Sussex and Kent

The Company

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Specialists in Site-specific Theatre

Registered charity 1163093                                                

Current Work

For 18 – 25 year olds interested in the Cyrano Workshops at the Chichester Festival Theatre please visit: Chichester Festival Theatre

Spring/Summer 2016

Peacehaven on Special Offer – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the town of Peacehaven, The Company is reprising this play, with a “scratch” reading to take place on Sat Feb 28th at 7pm at Community House, Merdian Centre, Peacehaven, Box Office: 01273 585493.   For more information visit: Peacehaven on Special Offer

I am Sam – Premier of the I am Sam documentary film at the Underground Theatre, Eastbourne – the film follows the  I am Sam Theatre project, through rehearsals & performances, that took place in Autumn 2016.  The film will be distributed to all 28 secondary schools in East Sussex.

Steyning Festival Theatre Trails – Always one of the sell out events of the Festival, The Company present rehearsed readings of 3 new plays, at 3 different site-specific venues. Lunch is included between plays 2 & 3, & there is a Q & A session with the writers, directors & actors after the last play.  For more information visit The Steyning Festival

Cyrano  – A new site-specific production of Rostand’s classic French play, adapted by John Wells & Suzi Hopkins, to be performed in, and around, the medieval market place of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, in June & July.  The Chichester Festival Theatre & the Pallant House Art Gallery are working partners on this project, and Cyrano is supported by Arts Council England & the South Downs National Park Sustainable Community Fund.

Past Projects

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Montfort’s March

Do you have what it takes to join Montfort’s Army?

Award winning, site-specific, promenade play, commemorating the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes.  Following in the footsteps of Simon de Montfort’s army, the audience and actors marched four miles across the South Downs to challenge King Henry III at Lewes.  Written by Suzi Hopkins and directed by Stephen Israel.

Supported by Arts Council England, The Houses of Parliament, The South Downs National Park, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Lewes District and Town Councils, and many others.

“We need more of this stuff; bring it on!”  Love Fringe reviews

“A triumph” – Brighton Fringe reviews

 “It was clear that EVERY member of the audience went away having been involved in a masterpiece of site-specific theatre.”  Audience member

 “A glorious evening on the Downs – can’t see how it could be improved. Please don’t wait another 750 years to repeat!”  Audience member

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Up In Smoke

As the Great War ends, it is time for women to cast their votes.

Set in 1918, and performed on a steam train travelling between Tunbridge Wells and Groombridge, the audience sat alongside soldiers and suffragettes, to face the despair of war and the passionate call for equality.

Commissioned by The Weald Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme, in partnership with the Tunbridge Wells Museum and the Spa Valley Railway.

“A unique experience.”  Audience member

“For my brother and myself who had a Grandfather wounded in the First World War it was very poignant and at times very humbling.”  Audience member

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Mr Punch’s…

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 performed around the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill,   With a community cast of 42, working alongside professional actors, director, designer, and Punch and Judy, this production beat the summer gales with the enthusiasm of the cast.

Supported by Arts Council England, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Rother District Council, De La Warr Pavilion, and Bexhill Museum

“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!”  Audience member

“This project is a model of how to create theatre or any participatory arts production to a professional standard.” Audience member

 “…like actually being on stage.”  Audience member

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The Jigsaw Puzzle

With the First World War looming, the old order is blind to its fate as class barriers crumble…

A modern interpretation of Hippolytus written to celebrate of the centenary of the Stoneland Players. Performed by, and for, the community of West Hoathly in the beautiful Church and Churchyard, and the topiary gardens of the Jacobean Manor House. With characters based on villagers who lived in West Hoathly at the time of the 1911 census, the play was written by Suzi Hopkins and directed by Stephen Israel.

Commissioned by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, and supported by the Art’s Council England, WSCC, Mid Sussex DC & West Hoathly PC.

“Excellent! Takes theatre in the round to a whole new level. Compelling, totally absorbing. Cannot praise the production enough.”  Audience member

“To anyone thinking about getting involved – do it! It is a wonderful chance to meet new people, do something out of the ordinary and play a small part in creating something fantastic.” Actor participant

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Steyning Festival

Rehearsed readings of unpublished, unperformed one act plays are staged at three separate venues in Steyning, appropriate to each play’s setting.  Lunch is sandwiched into the middle of the day, with a Q & A session at the end, chaired by a guest artist.

Submissions for this event are accepted from playwrights throughout the South East, and are chosen by an expert panel.

This popular event has been running annually since 2007.

“One of the most talked about events of the Festival”  Artistic Director of the Steyning Festival

 

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Where be Dragons?

Percy Bysshe Shelley does not believe in the dragon of St Leonard’s Forest – but someone is out to prove him wrong.

St Leonard’s Forest played host to a tale of dragons and smugglers, in this family theatre trail.

Commissioned by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, and supported by WSCC and the Forestry Commission.

“Absolutely fantastic!!”  Audience member

“Brilliant, an exciting way to get the children to enjoy theatre.”  Audience member

 

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Movers & Shakers

A Victorian sledge journey across Siberia, a spell in Her Majesty’s Prison, and a journey around the world with a pig – all part of a school trip to the Museum!

A multi-media play celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bexhill Museum.  Written by Suzi Hopkins & Nieve Stenton, directed by Stephen Israel, & performed by local youth participants, with music composed and performed by DV8 Bexhill students, & film sequences created by DV8 Brighton students.

Performed at de la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill – April 2014

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

 “After spending many years telling people about the history & heritage of our town it is a delight, & a surprise, to see that there are other ways (and I am forced to concede better ways) to get the story across to new & established audiences. In particular the youth of the town who it has always been a struggle for us to engage with.”  Julian Porter, Curator of the Bexhill Museum

“Come along DLWP, bring more entertainment like this to Bexhill which can be enjoyed by all ages.”  Bexhill Observer

“Excellent. Very enjoyable…each performer was given a chance.”  Audience member

Movers and Shakers documentary by Shona Pollock

 

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And that will never…

“And When will you be back my love?  Oh dear love tell me.                                                                                               When the sun sets into yonder sycamore tree, and that will never be.”

This site specific theatre trail led audiences 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 perfect evening in terms of the atmosphere, the tension of the play, and the beauty of the site.”                                                          Audience member

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Warren Broadwater…

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.

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Peacehaven…

Bargain of the century – 100 guinea plots, going for nothing!

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.

Commissioned by Peacehaven TC, supported by ESCC, the Co-op & Southern Water.

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Gert & Daisy…

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.

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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

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Glucksteyne

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

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Ostrich Feathers

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

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And his name was…

Written by Sara Clifford and directed by Clive Holland, this 22 venue tour of Village Halls and Art Centres in Kent and Sussex, was funded by West Sussex County Council, Applause Rural Touring, Lewes District Council and Rother District Council.

  • Montfort’s March

    Montfort’s March

  • Up In Smoke

    Up In Smoke

  • Mr Punch’s…

    Mr Punch’s…

  • The Jigsaw Puzzle

    The Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Steyning Festival

    Steyning Festival

  • Where be Dragons?

    Where be Dragons?

  • Movers & Shakers

    Movers & Shakers

  • And that will never…

    And that will never…

  • Warren Broadwater…

    Warren Broadwater…

  • Peacehaven…

    Peacehaven…

  • Gert & Daisy…

    Gert & Daisy…

  • Off the Buses!

    Off the Buses!

  • Glucksteyne

    Glucksteyne

  • Ostrich Feathers

    Ostrich Feathers

  • And his name was…

    And his name was…

In Development

Autumn 2016

The Company will be producing through improvisation ‘a play in a week’ with the charity SASBAH (Sussex Association of Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus)

2017

The Company is looking at developing two separate projects: one in partnership with the Ditchling Museum, and the other in partnership with Peacehaven Town Council.

Community Work

For 18 – 25 year olds interested in the Cyrano Workshops at the Chichester Festival Theatre please visit: Chichester Festival Theatre

The Company works extensively in the Community on many diverse projects.

Large scale Community plays, in which the participants work alongside professional directors, writers & designers to create a performance that reflects the history & culture of where they live.  This is a fully inclusive experience, where everyone is integral to the whole, & everyone’s skills are valued.

The Company has worked closely with SASBAH (the Sussex Association of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) since 2012, working alongside participants to create 3 very different performances.  We are happy to be working with SASBAH again later this year, creating a musical play to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

The Company create specialist workshops, which run alongside our performances, working closely with groups to develop an historical & social understanding of the performance they are seeing.  We also create workshops for participants with special needs, to enhance their experience of the performance.  Workshop groups have included: Chailey Heritage School, the Sussex Youth Parliament, Families for children and many other groups/schools.

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 2015 The Company became a CIO (charitable incorporated organsiation).

The Company works with local actors, musicians, writers, directors & designers. We are low tech & use the locality as our set.  Our audiences do not sit and watch in the dark, but are an important part of the action, and our plays reflect local lives, in the past & right now.

Joint artistic-directors

                          Copyright

Suzi Hopkins                                                Stephen Israel

Playwright                                                    Director/producer

 

Trustees:  John Emerson FCA, Sophia Kingshill, Sally Ann Lycett, and Chris Sheffield LL.B

 

Patrons:   Hamish Black, Raymond Briggs and Teresa Wells

Contact

Comments or questions are welcome.

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