For your diary – February 2nd 2020

February meeting

Sussex Playwrights February 2nd meeting

Sussex Playwrights was first formed in 1935 to promote members’ writing.

In the 21st century one of the best ways to spread the word is to get the writer’s voice out there, using the text and sound publishing systems available to us.

Sussex Playwrights: The Podcast

This Sunday we’ll be recording material for our podcast introduction and promotion.

This will be a chance for you to make short announcements about your upcoming projects and productions.

In future podcasts we’ll include readings and interviews with writers, actors, directors and producers.

Announcing the 2020-2021 Constance Cox Prize Playwriting Competition

With the rise and rise of Print On Demand publishing, we’re planning to promote writers and writing by publishing the first collection of plays for stage under the Sussex Playwrights brand.

Our next Constance Cox Prize Playwriting Competition will also be a call for entries for this collection.

Details will be published on the website and in the newsletter following the meeting.

Come along and hear all about it, and how you can take part.

Enquiries to Thomas Everchild, secretary@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

All welcome

Free to Sussex Playwrights members
Visitors £3 (£2 with Equity card)
Includes drinks

New Venture Theatre bar, Bedford Place, Brighton, BN1 2PT

Sunday February 2nd 2020

19.00-21.00

Please note – Sussex Playwrights are not affiliated with our friends the New Venture Theatre.

2020 dates

March 1 AGM 19.00 – 21.00

Please do attend the March AGM for your chance to stand for election in a committee post, vote for candidates and have a say in how the Club is run. Posts:

Chair

Vice Chair

Secretary

Treasurer

Committee members

If you would like to stand for one of these posts, or if you would like a motion discussed at the AGM, please email chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

April 5 Brighton Fringe Preview

If you would like to feature a ten minute preview of your fringe show, at any stage of preparation, followed by a discussion of your work, please email chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

May 3 Jun 7 Jul 5 Aug 2

If you’d like to bring a short piece for a scratch reading on a club night, email Philippa Hammond chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

Sussex Playwrights

Welcome to Sussex Playwrights

For writers, producers, directors, actors and anyone with a passion for plays

Sussex Playwrights Writers Link

We promote new writing for stage, screen, radio, audio and on-line.

Our purpose is to encourage new work from writers throughout the English speaking world.

Sussex just happens to be where we started, in 1935.

More about Sussex Playwrights…

Honorary President and Vice President William Nicholson

Sussex Playwrights Honorary President and Vice President …

 

Playwright, novelist and screenwriter William Nicholson

Author of

His latest film Breathe, directed by Andy Serkis
Shadowlands
Les Miserables
Gladiator
First Knight
Elizabeth: The Golden Age

is our Honorary President.

About William and his work: www.williamnicholson.com

For many years the late Sir Peter Shaffer was Sussex Playwrights’ Honorary President.


Honorary Vice President

In a role previously held by the actor Paul Moriarty, our Honorary Vice President is a long-term Sussex Playwrights member

Playwright and screenwriter Judy Upton

Author of

Ashes and Sand
Sliding with Suzanne
Bruises
Sunspots
People on the River

Her plays are published by Methuen Drama

About Judy and her work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Upton

Thank you to William and Judy for their support of new writing in the region

from Chair Philippa Hammond, Secretary Thomas Everchild and the Sussex Playwrights committee and members

Take part

How to have your work read and discussed at a meeting

Work in progress or for sharing

We’re looking to members and guests to take part in meetings and showcase their work

If you’d like to have actors read an excerpt from your latest script in progress for discussion [10 minute slot]

If you’d like to read an excerpt from your latest fiction or non-fiction on the night [10 minute slot]

If you’d prefer to have someone read it for you, if you’re happier writing than speaking

Please contact us chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

Ideas for guest speakers

If you can suggest a great guest speaker for one of our meetings – please get in touch with us.

Ideas for workshops

Are there any particular workshops you’d like to have as part of a meeting?

Suggestions so far include:Reading aloud to an audience – For authors, being able to deliver an excerpt from your poetry, fiction or non fiction to an audience can raise your profile and increase your sales

Acting script-in-hand for beginners – being able to take a script and bring it to life with a group reading is a great skill for writers, and can help you appreciate what makes dialogue playable

Crowd funding your writing – how writers can create their own fundraising project online to support themselves and their creative work.

Audio drama performance skills – an essential toolkit of skills for anyone interested in performing audio drama

Please contact us

Follow and share

Send us your latest news and successes to feature on social media

‘Like’ the Sussex Playwrights Facebook Page for the latest news and links

Follow us on Twitter @PlaywrightsClub

Brighton Actors Networking

Castings are announced on the Sussex Playwrights Facebook Page and on Brighton Actors Networking Facebook Page and Group.
The Group is open to all aspiring, training, pre-professional and professional actors and anyone in related fields.

Brighton Actors Networking Group and Sussex Playwrights

Sussex Playwrights casts its readings from actors in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area.

Castings are announced on the Sussex Playwrights Facebook Page and on Brighton Actors Networking Facebook Group.
The Group is open to all aspiring, training, pre-professional and professional actors and anyone in related fields.

We encourage

Networking

Sharing opinion and advice

Casting news

Services – classes, workshops, photography etc – relevant to actors

Debates and alerts to issues

Performance news

Brighton Actors Networking Facebook Page

 

Brighton Actors Networking Facebook Page and Group were founded and developed by Thomas Everchild and Philippa Hammond [secretary and chair of Sussex Playwrights].

‘We knew there was a big and active community of actors in Brighton and Hove – but there was nowhere online for networking and sharing.

A chance conversation at an event in 2013 sparked the idea to create a Facebook Page and Group for actors in the city.

We created the Page that evening and by the end of the first weekend had over 100 members.

The Group followed quickly, and together they have over 2000 members today.’

Philippa Hammond

January 2019 meeting

January report

We kicked off our 2020 with new writing, a glass of wine and great conversation with Sussex Playwrights.


Our guest, actor Heather-Rose Andrews, had just returned from her Christmas in New York where she performed Sam Chittenden’s adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, to audience and critical acclaim.


Heather was in conversation with Philippa discussing the business of adaptation, re-imagining a classic work for the stage, and performing in an iconic New York venue to great reviews.


And James Alexander Allen presented a reading by Tristan Woolf and Kevin Cherry from his latest script We Can Be Villains for discussion and analysis.


If you’d like to bring a short piece for a scratch reading on a club night, email Philippa Hammond chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

A Christmas Carol

 
 
Sussex Playwrights Reviews
A Christmas Carol
Lantern Light Theatre
 
Adapted by Sophie Flack
Directed by Kerren Garner
Technical support Katy Matthews
Music Tom Dussek
Violin Seth Morgan
 
It’s the night before Christmas and Scrooge is having spectral visitations showing him the past, the present – and what the future might bring, if he doesn’t mend his ways.
 
Dickens’ best loved and most produced work is everywhere this Christmas and we can’t get enough of it here in Brighton this winter.
 
This satisfying and faithful new adaptation from Lantern Light Theatre offers an Austerity Britain take. Narrator Deborah Kearne gathers the tale together in the role of a homeless woman, highlighting the central theme of poverty and want, and the possibility of change in all our hands. A word from Sussex Homeless Support after the show delivered the lasting message that this is some people’s Christmas present.
 
Lantern Light’s USP is the ability to fit venue and show, and St Nicholas’ Church, probably Brighton’s oldest building, is a terrific venue. Eerie sound and lighting design by Dan Skelt highlight rood screen, dais, long aisles and real candlelight, with London fog drifting about the ivy-wreathed stone pillars creating atmosphere, visuals and mood which a theatre just can’t offer.
 
Seth Morgan’s Scrooge, all forkbeard and power brows, takes the commanding lead. The supporting cast double multiple roles most effectively, using each actor’s own physicality with style. As the ghosts, Sophie Flack flits between white lady Christmas spirit and the girls of Scrooge’s past, and Tom Dussek’s the rich-voiced personification of a Green Man spirit. Robert Cohen clanks with elegance as Marley’s chained ghost and Ben Baeza’s a charming Tim, while director Kerren Garner adds a great note of grim humour as the corpse-robbing Charwoman.
 
Churches were made for singing, at which the production excels, and the occasional echo issue aside, the tale was told crystal clear, packed with audience enjoying mulled wine and mince pies.
 
The production is touring this Christmas, with venues including the Round Tower in Portsmouth and St Dunstan’s Church Mayfield, East Sussex.
 
 

December 2020 meeting

 
Sussex Playwrights presents:
An evening with William Nicholson
 
Thank you to William Nicholson, our Honorary President and special guest at last night’s Sussex Playwrights
 
 
William gave terrific insights into the reality of being a novelist, playwright and A-list screenwriter, his personal practice, including developing self discipline and lifelong writing habits, the stages of getting a film from first talks to release, the process of raising a budget for a self-directed feature and how the industry really works.
 
He also shared the personal impact that feedback, reviews and the awards process can have on the writer.
 
The event concluded with audience Q&A, networking and drinks in a room packed with writers, actors and drama makers.
 
William also directs and his new film Hope Gap, based on his Tony award-nominated play The Retreat from Moscow and partly filmed in Sussex, will be released next year
 
 
 
 
    

Dancing in the Moonlight: A Play About Phil Lynott

Sussex Playwrights Reviews
Dancing in the Moonlight: A Play About Phil Lynott
 
Written and performed by Miles Mlambo
Directed by Chris Gates
 
Phil Lynott [and you’ll remember how to pronounce it] was a 60s and 70s rock icon, lead singer of Thin Lizzy, and it was clear the audience knew this, going by the ‘oooh YES’ murmurs every so often and one audience member’s later ‘I remember it ALL’.
 
The play hit Edinburgh with some impact this August, with reviewers praising the research, writing, direction and performance, and it’s heading to London soon, stopping off in Brighton for one day only.
 
The resemblance is terrific – Mlambo’s the perfect relaxed, rangy Lynott, including the husky resonant Irish drawl.
 
It’s presented as a beer-swigging storytelling chat to us, taking us through his own origin story with the evocative tale of how Mum Philomena met the Duke, his towering, glamorous stranger of a father. It touches on the dreary horror of the fate of young pregnant girls – sent to ‘homes’, set to menial punishment tasks, their babies taken away. But she was different, a fighter who made her own life and huge sacrifices for Phil. Mlambo’s writing and performance shows us her flawed, driven son, punching back and diving in, grabbing every opportunity life flung his way.
 
We glimpse the ingredients that made him; the visceral impact of Irish legend and myth firing the imagination of the young outsider boy living with casual racism and quick violence in Ireland and England, snapshots of bohemian life and its characters in the 60s, the music, drink and drugs, and history repeating itself with the smitten Phil fathering a lost child he never knew.
 
Chris Gates’ direction spins an engaging physicality and gripping shifts in pace and mood. Tech support with ironic lounge glitterball, coloured lighting moods and musical moments is neatly delivered, and the whole is funny, romantic, sometimes violent and always engaging.
 
It’s entertaining stuff and you’re with him all the way. It ends enticingly with another door opening – and the burning question ‘what happens next??’ Hopefully Mlambo will revisit this true tale and give us another instalment in the life of Phyl Lynott.
 

Quintessence

Sussex Playwrights Reviews

Quintessence
Sweet Productions
Brighton Horrorfest 2019

Written and performed by Emily Carding
Directed by Dominique Gerrard

Winner of the Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award (Brighton Fringe 2019).

‘one of the UK’s leading Shakespearian actors’ – The Stage

Earth, the far future – and humanity has finally succeeded in wiping itself out. Its successors, the android Guardians, are at work. Humanity 2.0 is under construction, and we’re the evidence it’s going quite well.

Emily Carding as Guardian Ariel, a poised, precise figure in turquoise plus ethereal makeup, eyes black pinpoints in blue-shadowed white, welcomes us to our lessons.

This artificial intelligence, a creature charged with the care of precious if problematic young life, is programmed with the entire works of Shakespeare as its guidebook to the human soul.

With crystal clear delivery, all measured oddness and beatific white gaze, every second, every move is choreographed and precisely executed.

Assured technical support delivers a complete and subtle soundtrack of nature, computer sounds and voice fragments. As the light changes colour and quality, Ariel shifts and rearranges body components and voice samples, into young Juliet, blokey Henry and extreme Richard, all fluidly accessed moment by moment.

Like all experiments, some don’t go according to plan. There are moments of humour in the eeriness; the AIs can’t have been paying attention to Romeo and Juliet, as they completely fail to get adolescence. And shocks too, achieved by swiftly flipping lighting and performance. We’re left with our own ‘cry God for England’ moment, a call to action in our own fight for survival.

The piece is versatile; it could be performed in a huge venue with projections on screens, headmic and video closeups – or in the tiniest most claustrophobic venue, even one to one. Up close, Carding’s favoured mode, it’s captivating, an intensely personal and mesmerising experience.

Keep an eye on the Page for news of when and where Quintessence is on next.

Philippa Hammond

2 Dumb the Musical

Sussex Playwrights Reviews

2 Dumb the Musical

Roedean Theatre, Brighton

This is the first ever performance of this show. Roedean Theatre hosts a five performance weekend of this new rock musical by Tim Newman and Stuart Brayson, featuring an assured and accomplished lead cast, great voices and songwriting and superb support from the live band and the Brighton Academy’s 120-strong chorus.

Denver James is both a rock star, and a charismatic leader of the young. He’s come to the PM’s attention – and as he gathers his people, a great conspiracy unfolds.

Laced with glimpses of characters’ private life and the past, with strong echoes of Jesus Christ Superstar, this tale of a silenced youth movement that’s found its voice feels so now, with Extinction Rebellion and climate change school strikes front page news.

For a show of this quality and scale with rightly ambitious plans to transfer and tour, this intensive weekend tryout is a great opportunity to polish a gem.

It’s wordy, the writing at times resembles a lecture, with characters rapidly declaiming manifestos and political opinions, and as a result is long (there is an interval, and a bar) and would benefit from an edit.

The technical element is terrific, using the venue’s resources to the max. This is no school hall; Roedean’s fully equipped theatre has the wow factor, with huge scope for very big shows. Brighton fringe must surely envy the Roedean students for this terrific asset.

The few first night technical glitches can be addressed – the sound mix on the night lost some of the lyrics and occasionally dancers and spot lights didn’t quite meet.

But we’re left with a lasting impression of a show with fantastic energy, the quality of lead performers’ singing, fabulous exhilarating ensemble singing, dancing and sheer exuberant presence are a joy. The enormous almost entirely female supporting cast often surround the audience, using every inch of the stage, aisles and upper tiers. We felt completely part of the whole experience, the finale enclosing us in a wall of sound and firefly-like torchlight.

Highly recommended, and it will be fascinating to see where 2 Dumb the Musical goes next.

The show contains strobe light and audience floodlighting effects.

Carparking on site and it’s the Roedean School stop on the 27 bus route.

Page

October 25/26/27 3.00 pm & 7.30pm
Roedean Theatre

Philippa Hammond
Thomas Everchild