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The Company UK | Site-Specific Theatre in Sussex and Kent

The Company

Specialists in Site-specific and Community Theatre

Current

Autumn 2015: SASBAH 50th anniversary. The Company will work with participants from SASBAH (Sussex Association of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus), to create a celebration performance of music and drama.

The Company is currently changing to the status of a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

 

Previous Productions

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Montfort’s March

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

“Who would believe that such a cross section of people would without a murmur all kneel down and pray before battle!”  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 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!”
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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Movers and 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

“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

 ”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

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Steyning Fest Theatre Trails

Rehearsed readings of unpublished, unperformed one act plays are staged at different 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 based in the South East.  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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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 (their first ever performance was Hippolytus in 1910). 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.

“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

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

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 Jim…

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 Pleasure Palace

    Mr Punch’s Pleasure Palace

  • Movers and Shakers

    Movers and Shakers

  • Steyning Fest Theatre Trails

    Steyning Fest Theatre Trails

  • Where Be Dragons

    Where Be Dragons

  • The Jigsaw Puzzle

    The Jigsaw Puzzle

  • And that will never be…

    And that will never be…

  • Warren Broadwater

    Warren Broadwater

  • Peacehaven on Special Offer

    Peacehaven on Special Offer

  • Gert & Daisy & the Irish Affair

    Gert & Daisy & the Irish Affair

  • Off the Buses!

    Off the Buses!

  • Glucksteyne

    Glucksteyne

  • Ostrich Feathers

    Ostrich Feathers

  • And His Name Was Jim…

    And His Name Was Jim…

Future

The Company is currently developing a project to work alongside CAHMS referred young people, to create a performance looking at mental health issues.  This play, to be performed by the young people, will be taken into Sussex schools.

Community Work

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 Village Halls and Arts Centres has been followed by 14 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

Contact

Comments or questions are welcome.

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