2018 AGM and March meeting

Meeting minutes

Sussex Playwrights 83rd AGM March 4th 2018



Welcome and Apologies – none noted

2017 Minutes available here

Corrections – no corrections

Matters arising – none

Motions – none received or raised


Chair and Secretary’s report 2017 – 2018

It’s been a great second year as Chair & Secretary of Sussex Playwrights.

Over 11 meetings

  • Members and friends have reported back on their involvement in last year’s Hove Grown, Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Festivals and many other writing and production successes.
  • We’ve held several impromptu scratch nights where writers brought their scripts along to workshop, interesting discussions too

We’ve had some big hits too

  • We held a well attended Writers’ Night, where four works in progress and finished work were given performed readings followed by lively discussion
  • A performance by Ross Gurney-Randall and Doug Devaney of an extract from ‘Ross and Doug Present Scenes From The Life And Death Of Lord Haw Haw’
  • A terrific reading of the new play ‘The Engagement’ by James Alexander Allen, described by Simon Jenner as ‘the finest SPC production of a rehearsed reading I’ve seen … ‘‘The Engagement’ is about to be presented at the Rialto Theatre as part of the Hove Grown festival of new drama. Directed by Secretary Thomas Everchild.

    And we’re looking to host more writers’ events like these over the next year.

Our guest speakers have included

  • Kelly Mikulla of the Sussex Film Office.
  • Brighton & Hove’s award-winning independent film writer and director Howard J Ford
  • Our Brighton Festival-time event featured the playwright, screenwriter and novelist William Nicholson [Shadowlands / Gladiator / Les Miserables] in conversation on writing for stage, page and screen.

We were delighted to announce

  • our new honorary President – William Nicholson [Gladiator]
  • our new honorary Vice President – Judy Upton


  • Most recent Constance Cox prize playwriting competition saw a rehearsed performed reading of the first prize winner,‘The Teaswell Incident’ by John Dutton, before an audience upstairs – this was recorded and is currently being edited as a full audio production by Simon Moorhead of TBC Audio
  • The runners up will also have recorded readings.

Special events

  • Our July meeting saw our first Summer Party – we announced the winners of the 2016-17 Constance Cox playwriting competition
  • Christmas Party featured a fiendish quiz, spooky storytelling and music from Jo Crocker

Our network develops

Over the last year we’ve welcomed many visitors and new members to our meetings.

Our social media following continues to grow online– at the time of writing

  • Sussex Playwrights Facebook Page 391 likes
  • @playwrightsclub Twitter 984 followers

Local links growing too:

  • with the Brighton and Sussex Equity Branch – a lovely thank you for promoting their events
  • with Brighton Actors Networking Group, Shooting People Brighton
  • with theatre and audio drama producers Simon Moorhead of TBC Audio, Brighton Theatre of the Air and Brighton Radio Playtime
  • Sussex Playwrights Reviews:

We began a new venture – reviewing shows in the city under the Sussex Playwrights Reviews banner. We started during the Fringe, so far reviewed 14 productions and will continue with more reviews of new theatre, audio and film drama in future.

So we’re really joining the dots in the city. It’s been a fun, productive and incredibly rewarding second year as Chair.

Thank you

Philippa Hammond – Chair
Thomas Everchild – Secretary


Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Jerry Attwood presented the accounts for the year. Sussex Playwrights currently holds £4,345.00.

Thomas will liaise with Jerry re establishing a Pay Pal account.

Jerry and Thomas discussed the current membership and funds situation.

From now on the membership will go up to £15.00.

This will allow any member to submit two scripts to any competition.

Any non member who submits a script to a competition will pay a £15.00 fee which will make them an automatic Sussex Playwrights member and entitle them to receive all club news and free entry to all events.

At present we are not charging yearly fees to existing members.

We are still considering reinstating the yearly fee, in order to boost club funds to support future events and projects.

Visitors will be able to buy tickets online as well as on the door – the visitors’ fee will increase to £3 per meeting, to include drinks, play-readings, discussions and special events.

Actors booked to read at Sussex Playwrights-produced rehearsed and performed readings and recordings will receive an expenses payment – amount to be decided.


2018 Elections

Chair – Philippa Hammond: proposed Thomas Everchild, seconded Murray Hecht – re-elected

Vice Chair – Robert Cohen: proposed Simon Jenner, seconded Murray Hecht – re-elected

Secretary – Thomas Everchild: proposed Simon Jenner, seconded Christine Foster – re-elected

Treasurer – Simon Moorhead: proposed Thomas Everchild, seconded Sorcha Brooks – elected [note as Simon has been otherwise engaged over the year, the role is being looked after by Keith Holman, son of Sussex Playwright the late Olive Holman]

Committee members – Judy Upton and Simon Jenner: proposed Philippa Hammond, seconded Thomas Everchild – re-elected

Thank you to former Committee Members John Dutton and Cherie Cherchie, who did not stand in this year’s election.

Jerry Attwood, the outgoing Treasurer, has served Sussex Playwright in various capacities – as Treasurer, Chair and Membership Secretary – for nine years, and is a long standing member of the club. A special thank you to Jerry for all he’s done for the club, from Philippa, Robert, Thomas and all the committee and members.



Simon Jenner said that the reading of ‘The Engagement’ had been a watershed, a wonderful production with a huge response – exciting theatre at Sussex Playwrights.

Simon Jenner also mentioned our relationship with the New Venture Theatre, where we have met for many years. In the past, SPC and NVT have collaborated and he asked that anyone with NVT connections start to reconnect with a view to future work together.

Simon Moorhead noted that the NVT are only using their varied theatre facilities over six days during the upcoming Brighton Fringe month.


After the AGM

We enjoyed and discussed performed readings of three short plays, by Peter Gardiner and Dave Patchett.

January 2018 meeting: ‘The Engagement’

‘ … the finest SPC production of a rehearsed reading I’ve seen … ‘ (Simon Jenner)

‘The Engagement’

Sussex Playwrights presented a well-received performance reading of this new play (under its working title) by James Alexander Allen, from a story of true events by Wayne Liversidge.

Performed by:

Joshua Crisp
Philippa Hammond
Russell Shaw
Amy Sutton

Produced by Philippa Hammond

Members and visitors were invited to come and watch and discuss the play with the writers and cast. The play had the reception that Sussex Playwrights is all about – a committed, energetic and collaborative response from a rapt and intrigued audience.


Here are some highlights from Simon Jenner’s review of the reading and report on the discussion:

‘ … this is the finest SPC production of a rehearsed reading I’ve seen … ‘

‘ … a fine script: idiomatic, swift, keenly observant in its naturalism … ‘

‘ … one of the most solidly imagined SPC productions I’ve seen … ‘

‘ … Sutton’s incandescent Gerri, a breathtakingly vivid and compellingly believable portrait … ‘

‘ … the audience and cast responded to this play as never before at SPC. Nearly everyone spoke eloquently, engaging cast and producers by turn; they themselves led off in discussion of what decisions had been or should be made … ‘

‘ … a staged version of this play … will prove one of the absolute highlights of 2018’s Hove Grown Play Festival … ‘

Simon Jenner (Sussex Playwrights Reviews)

Latest news

The play will be premiered at the Rialto Theatre with new cast as part of the 2018 Hove Grown festival of new drama.

It will be directed by Sussex Playwrights’ Secretary Thomas Everchild of Studio 1919.

The Engagement
Rialto Theatre
March 27th and 28th at 8.30 pm

Sussex Playwrights Christmas 2017 party and meeting

About the 2017 Christmas Party meeting

Thank you to all our members, visitors and guests for coming to our traditional Sussex Playwrights Christmas party on December the 3rd at the New Venture Theatre, where we’ve been meeting for about half a century (of course, Sussex Playwrights itself has been going for well over 80 years!)

This was a special Christmas ghost storytelling theme event, with wine, nibbles, readings, spooky tales and live music throughout the evening.

Previous parties have seen readings from ‘The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe’, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ John Julius Norwich’s ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’ plus performed script readings of ‘The Christmas Goat’ by Judy Upton and ‘The Toad on the Road’ by Thomas Everchild.

Cherie Cherchie read her short story ‘The Telephone Call’

Robert Cohen read his short story ‘Yarmouth Road’

Thomas Everchild told his spooky tale of ‘The Haunted Coat’

Jo Crocker read ‘Love Auntie Alice’ by Judy Upton

The traditional fiendish quiz presented by Thomas:

  • Third prize John Dutton £5 book token
  • Second prize Simon Moorhead £10 book token
  • And first prize winner Robert Cohen £15 book token

John Dutton read his short story ‘HMS Mosquito’

Apologies from Philippa, prevented from performing her short story ‘Night Watch’ by the great 2017 Brighton Cold! Hoping to do it at a future meeting.

Singer/guitarist Jo Crocker completed the evening by singing Playwriter, words by Thomas Everchild to the theme from Moonraker (music by John Barry, original lyrics by Hal David.) Click here to play

Next meeting: January 7th 7pm – 9pm

November 2017 meeting

A summary of the November meeting

Sunday 5th November – A discussion about writing

Writers, producers, directors and actors convened to talk and share opinions about practical script writing.

Received wisdom about writing includes the ideas that writing must:

Have a Beginning, Middle and End, not necessarily in that order
Show the Journey, we must learn something
Be surprising
Solve a puzzle
Solve a mystery
Avoid exposition
Make literary points
Teach life lessons

Scratch readings on the night

We held impromptu scratch readings of two short pieces by Dave Patchett:

‘Voices’ – agents experimenting with mind control
‘The Initiation of Foo’ – all-powerful beings initiate a new member into their secret order

and discussed theatre in the UK and Bucharest, Robert McKee on ‘Story’, how to enter new drama into the Brighton Fringe and Hove Grown Festival brochures.

News from Brighton Radio Playtime and Brighton Theatre of the Air new writing groups – several new short audio dramas are in preparation for recording in November and December. New writer and actor members always welcome. See Facebook for details.

There is a practical writing group session at Brighton Waterstones – meeting every Thursday morning at 11.00 for group writing exercises.

Next: Preparing the December 3rd Christmas party

September 2017 review October news

October 1st meeting

The 2016-17 Constance Cox Competition invited writers to submit half hour audio plays in the thriller / mystery genre.

We’re about to begin presenting a series of rehearsed readings of the winners and the short listed plays.

October 1st meeting features the first prize winning play ‘The Teaswell Incident’ by John Dutton

Produced by Simon Moorhead – TBC Audio

Directed by Thomas Everchild – Studio 1919

The readings will feature professional actors, will be recorded on the night and available to buy as a collection on CD. Each performance will be followed by audience discussion. The writers are invited to attend and take part in the Q and A.

About the meetings

A monthly playwrights’ event – writers of film, theatre, TV, radio, online drama, plus actors, directors, crew and their friends are welcome to come along for rehearsed readings, networking, sharing writing, reading and discussing new work.

New Venture Theatre, Bedford Place, Brighton, East Sussex

All welcome

All meetings are free to members [including drinks]

Visitors £2 on door [including drinks]

Later meetings will present

Second prize: ‘Storm in a League Cup’ by Simon Josiffe

Third prize: ‘Rock and Chips’ by David Weir

Followed by the runners up:

‘Cash’ by Julia Norman

‘Distortion’ by Celia Dodd

‘The Other Apprentice’ by Randy Lee Gross

‘Will’ by Robert Cohen

Keep an eye on the website and Facebook Page for latest news, as details, dates and castings are confirmed.

2017 Constance Cox Competition

We are about to announce details of the 2017 Constance Cox playwriting competition. Details will be released very soon on the website and Facebook page

September meeting report

Our special guest in September was Kelly Mikulla of the Sussex Film Office. Kelly is the main point of contact for all potential projects in the region, including feature films, television, commercials, music videos or photoshoots. Kelly introduced the Sussex Film Office and discussed how writers, actors, crew etc can benefit.

Further details at: www.sussexfilmoffice.co.uk

The September meeting was also a Sussex Playwrights Writers’ night.

It was a pleasure to welcome guest writers from Brighton Theatre of the Air and Radio Playtime this month – both groups are currently developing short audio drama scripts for recording with professional actors, and online broadcast. We’ll bring news as the projects develop.

Writers also brought short pieces for reading and discussion on the night. Two snappy and entertaining shorts by Robert Cohen and Dave Patchett were read with gusto and discussed by the audience. Simon Jenner will be adding some thoughts on the pieces for the website shortly.

Diary and members’ news

Thomas Everchild and Philippa Hammond will be presenting their new show ‘The Stern Head Mystery’ at the Under Ground Theatre Eastbourne on Sunday Oct 8th. Details and tickets http://undergroundtheatre.co.uk/events/the-stern-head-mystery

Robert Cohen is presenting his three solo shows under the heading Men Without Friends at the Stroud Theatre Festival on Sept 29/30 and Oct 1st. Details and tickets http://robertcohen.weebly.com/

Writers are often actors, directors, theatre and film makers etc too. We’re joining the dots in the city, getting everyone talking and collaborating together.

For Actors: The Brighton Actors Networking Summer Meetup at Revival Cafe, George Street, Hove was a great success in September – we’ll be holding the Christmas meetup there on December 16th. News from the BANG Facebook Group later in the year. All welcome. Free – just buy your coffee and cake [your hot drink refill is half price].

For Film Makers: Shooters in the Pub Brighton film makers’ meetup 7.30pm Dukes at Komedia bar on the first Monday of every month. All welcome. Free – buy a drink if you like.

Next meeting dates

The dates for Sussex Playwrights meetings over the next year are: • 2017: 1 Oct; 5 Nov; 3 Dec • 2018: 7 Jan; 4 Feb; 4 Mar; 8 Apr; 6 May; 3 Jun; 1 Jul; 5 Aug

Club news: A reminder

After some time vacant, we have new names at the top of the letterhead.

New Honorary President William Nicholson

For many years Sussex Playwrights’ Honorary President was the late Sir Peter Shaffer. Sussex Playwrights welcome playwright, novelist and screenwriter William Nicholson as our new Honorary President. His latest film ‘Breathe,’ directed by Andy Serkis, is in cinemas from late October.


New Honorary Vice President Judy Upton

The title Honorary Vice President was previously held by the actor Paul Moriarty. The role is now accepted by SPC member, playwright, screenwriter Judy Upton.


2017: July meeting review and August news

Our August meeting and July report

6 August: Special guest Howard J Ford

Brighton & Hove’s award-winning independent film writer and director Howard J Ford will be talking about his work and his latest film ‘Never Let Go’, followed by audience Q and A.

Howard is known for The Dead (2010), The Dead 2: India (2013) and Never Let Go (2015), and is also an award-winning commercials director.

More about his work here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0285683/

About ‘Never Let Go’

Written and directed by Howard J Ford, starring Angela Dixon

Winner: Best Independent Feature [The National Film Awards 2016]

Winner: Best Director, Best Actress and Best Film [Artemis Women In Film Festival Los Angeles 2016]

Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8bWiGn9liU


July meeting review

Our July meeting saw our first Summer Party and announced the winners of the 2016- 17 Constance Cox playwriting competition

We are delighted to announce …

The Winners

First : ‘The Teaswell Incident’ by John Dutton Prize £150

This play will receive a studio recording by TBC Audio

Second: ‘Storm in a League Cup’ by Simon Josiffe Prize £75

Third: ‘Rock and Chips’ by David Weir Prize £50

Congratulations to John, Simon and David.

All three winners also receive:

A rehearsed ‘script-in-hand’ reading with a discussion before an audience of members, writers’ family and friends, with the winners as special guests

A recording of your reading at the meeting

A prize certificate

Thank you and well done to the four runners up:

‘Cash’ by Julia Norman

‘Distortion’ by Celia Dodd

‘The Other Apprentice’ by Randy Lee Gross

‘Will’ by Robert Cohen

We aim to present readings and discussions of the runners up at future meetings – dates and details to be notified.

Appreciation: Edward McFadyen

Members: Trevor Harvey writes an appreciation of the late Edward McFadyen

SPC is saddened to learn of the death of Edward McFadyen, a long-standing and respected member, who regularly attended Club meetings until illness prevented him from doing so.

Ted was born in Ipswich in 1928 and lived in London for most of his working life. He once recalled that his first job was as ‘a glorified office boy’ on REYNOLDS NEWS, a left-wing Sunday newspaper. Ted started work in magazine publishing with a Fleet Street company upon his release from National Service, where he had worked as an instructor in the Army Education Corps. He edited a magazine on retail management and became something of an authority on the subject, giving papers at conferences in several European countries. He also started campaigning for gay rights in the 1970s, notably on the Gay Rights Committee of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty).

In the 1970s, Ted gave a series of talks on BBC Radio 4, mostly on books and on travel. He wrote an informative pamphlet on the state of British Theatre which was published by The National Book League for the Brighton Festival ‘Look Back In Pleasure’ Exhibition, 1977.

Living in Hove, Ted joined SPC in the early 1970s and he wrote a number of one-act plays (mainly comedies) which were given readings at the Club and which were always well received, a couple being broadcast. Ted had a delightful (occasionally wicked!) sense of humour. He was proud that the West End playwright Philip King (a Vice-President of the Club) once told him he had written ‘the best last line for a play’ that he had ever heard; however, Ted went on to joke he had long since lost the play and couldn’t even remember what the line was!

Ted was often a reader at SPC meetings. He made perceptive comments on the plays of fellow members and always offered encouraging advice.

His passing is a loss to the Club and he will be fondly remembered by his friends at SPC.

Trevor Harvey