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

News: William Nicholson

News from Philippa at Brighton Equity October 2021 meeting
 
Delighted to have had a front row seat at our honorary President William Nicholson’s presentation today!
 
William is a screenwriter, playwright and novelist – writer of Gladiator, Les Miserables, Shadowlands and First Knight among many others.

He was speaking at the first in-person (with some Zoom attendees) Brighton Equity meeting since lockdown began.

Topics included the business of working with actors, how to get into screenwriting if you’re a new voice and some hilarious anecdotes about some very well known names.
 
His current film stars Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell and is about the rescue of a group of children from caves in Thailand by two British amateur divers.

A great return to meeting together again.
 

October 3rd 2021 meeting report

Sussex Playwrights had a quiet time over lockdown, but on October 3rd 2021 we had our first face to face meeting at the New Venture Theatre Bar in eighteen months.

We might call it a soft re-launch – a careful, quiet coming back together again in a space, over a glass of wine, to chat about how we’ve been, what we’ve done, what we’ve seen.

As theatre gradually came back to life, we began seeing shows again over the summer and you can read some of our reviews over the year at this site.

We’ve met at the NVT bar the first Sunday of the month for decades with lockdown being our only break [we were all there in spirit!].

Our next meeting will be Sunday November 7th 7-9 pm.

Keep an eye on the website and the Facebook Page for the first formal Event notification.

We hope to see you then.

Philippa Hammond, chair

Lockdown January 2021 online meeting report

Sussex Playwrights suspended face to face meetings during the lockdown April 2020 – September 21.

We checked in with a podcast of a previous meeting, and then an online Zoom meeting on January 3rd 2021.

There followed a quiet period where although we did not meet either in person or online, we continued to celebrate Sussex Playwrights’ members’ and friends’ successes via our Facebook Page.

Do check out the Page to see some of our reports.

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Bertolt Wrecked

Sussex Playwrights Reviews
Bertolt Wrecked

Cascade Creative Recovery drama collective
Direction from Speak Up! Act Out!
Original music by The Undergrowth Tea Party

‘A cornucopia of dystopian dysfunction. Sketches and music about the strange times we live in. In the style of Brecht and Weil.’

This performance was devised through a series of workshops over the last six months, and performed by a group of people who are in recovery.

We’re met outside by company members in makeup and masks, in an interactive, knowing fairground style – we all need disinfecting before we go in, so our reality is part of the show.

We’re somewhere around the 16th wave of Covid, in a near future where the strange new world we all had to get used to has become an even stranger New Normal.

It’s the first time I’m at an event in over a year, in a socially distanced audience, and my own apprehensions are mirrored and expanded by the work on stage. It’s all very meta.

A cast of ten perform glimpses of separated families, Draconian laws and the need for human interaction in a sometimes bleakly funny, often despairingly familiar near future, while a three piece live band sing ironic, dark songs in the corner of a cabaret nightclub.

Sometimes slower and quieter than it deserved, the show would benefit from a longer run, so cast and crew who’ve lived their own nightmares, and together are dealing with this one, too, can get into the swing of it, pick up the pace and the punch.

All the best to this charity, Cascade Creative Recovery. Recovery community space and cafe to connect people up with each other, signpost services relevant to maintaining recovery and organise creative projects and events.

More at https://www.facebook.com/CascadeCreativeRecovery

Philippa Hammond

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Clean – The Musical

Sussex Playwrights Reviews

Clean – The Musical
Different Theatre

Tasha’s in Brighton in the middle of the Covid pandemic, sorting her late mother’s things. She stumbles across her mother’s research on the history of the women of Brighton’s laundries – and their stories open up over three centuries, told to us by the women themselves.

The show first stepped out in 2019, winning Best New Play at the Brighton Fringe.

It began as a promenade piece in a lovely garden on the site of a laundry, and now it’s flowered out to a good two hours, newly developed for the strange new world of 2021.

It’s interwoven with a score of fourteen captivating solo and choral songs with that 60s & 70s folky protest vibe, book and lyrics by Sam Chittenden and music by Simon Scardinelli.

Blending folk, musical theatre and operatic voices, it’s an intimate show featuring seven actor/singers, some playing instruments too, plus two musicians.

The playing and singing’s gorgeous, with spine-tingling harmonies and solo performances, from raw to roar, and the natural stage and organ loft used to great advantage.

The venue enfolds us and looks terrific, a white linen-draped church, all characterful period detail. In Delphine du Barry’s design, clothes and sheets are strung across and round the space, each chair with its own label dedicated to a suffragette, and the costumes blending the iconic purple and green pallette of the suffragette movement.

The stories and histories each character shares are a revelation – there was a smallpox epidemic in Brighton in 1950. And an earlier typhoid outbreak. And so many laundries employing so many women, their sites now houses. And Sainsbury’s.

The piece flits through time – slipping through layers of time in the same place is a Chittenden motif and this new Covid-informed update has new resonance, connecting today’s front page themes of pandemics, women’s rights, women’s voices. Then and now.

Although they seldom interact, the characters are still connected together in work, refuges, campaigning and family ties through girlhood, motherhood, marriage, new independence, menopause. Each character is a compelling solo performance rather than interacting with the women of other times, their tales interweaving and echoing each other.

The men they conjure in their testimonies are uniformly awful; threatening and violent, emotionally unavailable, dismissive and discarding. It is a bleakly resigned view of relationships; and I wonder if there were any tales of supportive, unconditional love out there to be gathered into these experiences?

The show weaves rage and grief, tenderness and community spirit – and the occasional flash of fun.

It’s evolved – and there’s a sense that it could evolve again, perhaps adapting to a huge space and huge cast. It will be intriguing to see where it goes next.

The Brighton Theatre community is here today, and I spoke with more friends, both real life and new from Zoom, this afternoon than I have done in over a year, sharing our own ‘what a year’ stories before and after the event. Which just feels so right for this show.

Philippa Hammond

https://www.facebook.com/cleanthemusical/

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Rebel Boob

Sussex Playwrights Reviews

Rebel Boob
Speak Up! Act Out!
Director Angela El-Zeind
Choreography Katie Dale-Everett

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes. And around 350 men a year, too.

Eight out of ten are not warned about the possibility of developing long-term anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

This week, rage about the way gynaecology submits women to extreme pain without anaesthetic has taken centre stage, so this topic feels so much a part of the conversation right now.

This piece of verbatim theatre is based on interviews with survivors, some of whom were with us in the audience tonight.

Three women tell their stories, each dipping into testimonies that plunge us into some dark places, from the in-shower oh-crap moment to glimpses of the realities of the treatments.

We begin at the moment of diagnosis, a professional voice droning on – but it’s overtaken by the thundering heart, the wooshing in the ears, she’s falling, twisting, caught in a tornado.

Yet there’s joy and positivity too, glimpses of new beginnings, relationships strengthening, and the sense of a second chance to seize the day.

And a fun moment – an unexpected, brightly contrasted piece of audience participation that’s very cleverly popped in just where it’s needed.

The show’s performed by an assured trio;
Chess Dillon-Reams’ fluid dancer brings a powerful glow, Aurea Williamson is all restrained grace and compassion and director Angela El-Zeind delivers a performance of poise and authority.

It’s staged very simply, a few seating blocks and spotlights, with slides flitting on and off screen and audio snippets from the interviews, monologues and dance and physical theatre pieces interweaving together.

Like the survivors it celebrates, this compelling, frank and emotionally captivating piece will go on to new directions, telling more stories and spreading the word.

(PS: Do your checks, and go for your scans)

Philippa Hammond

 

 

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: The Other Side Of The World

Sussex Playwrights Reviews:
The Other Side Of The World
by Jonathan Williamson
 
Producer Simon Moorhead
Director Sorcha Brooks
 
In the 1950s, TV was new – and needed new ways to create it, made by young people with energy and vision. And the global reports created by Alan Whicker and his two-man team were leading edge stuff.
 
Today we can see the world as it happens online, but being able to see crisp first hand accounts of what was really happening out there was revolutionary then. And this new audio feature gives a behind the scenes look at just how it was achieved.
 
Producer Simon Moorhead is the son of Whicker’s right hand man, cameraman Cyril Moorhead, and the script is packed with family anecdotes from home and abroad.
 
There’s a great sense of seat of the pants early TV here, creating both the content and how it was made as they went along – with new kit, new ways of using it in a fast paced new broadcasting style.
 
The relationship forged by this close knit trio is captured in their central performances. Jon Culshaw’s spot on with the laconic iconic Whicker timbre and tone. Tom Dussek’s Cyril is experienced, fatherly and unflappable, and Matt Beaumont’s sound man Freddie is us, boyish, seeing it all for the first time with fresh eyes, exhausted, and exhilarated in turn.
 
The trio bounce round the planet, plunging into the world they find and capturing what they see and hear – and they’ve a smash hit on their hands.
 
Ultimately endearing and captivating, we’re right there travelling with them. Looking over their shoulders we’re given insights into just how it was done, how the pieces were constructed, on the journey in cars and planes, always heading somewhere, nailing bits to camera and coaxing audio in the bedding-draped hotel wardrobe.
 
Shocking and gripping images and sound documenting what’s happening out there flood back to the BBC, the excitement of the first rushes as the London crew realise just what they’ve got.
 
The script flits in and out, short scenes and leisurely paced glimpses taking a little while to power up, then building up steam.
 
The layered soundscape creates a great sense of period, old-school typewriters, engines, phones, telex and gunshots, cool jazzy music and vintage RP accents telling us that was then.
 
At its best, the feature plunges us into filmic set pieces; a faceoff with a Canadian icebreaker, ghastly Japanese conveyor belt surgery and the international incident that … nearly … caused WW3.
 
Like all the best travellers’ tales, the piece reveals dicey moments terrifying at the time and funny looking back – the stuff of great after-dinner stories and family legend. It captures a very personal take on a slice of TV history.
 
To listen:
 
https://audioboom.com/posts/7914216-the-other-side-of-the-world
 
TBC Audio, Catflap Media and The Jungle Room
 
Philippa Hammond