December 5th 2021 Christmas party

In December, we held our first Christmas party in two years. We enjoyed great conversation, Thomas Everchild’s fiendish Christmas quiz, won by Robert Cohen, and drinks and nibbles.

As the days grow short …

And the nights grow long …

And the winter solstice approaches …

We’ve always gathered together round fire and feasts to share tales of what might be out there … beyond the firelight …

Lin and Russell read some spooky solo short stories, to get into the winter spirit!

Members’ and Friends’ News

Our Honorary President William Nicholson was special guest at Brighton and Sussex Equity meeting

Our Honorary Vice President Judy Upton has published two novels, Out Of The Frying Pan and What Maisie Didn’t Know, and a book of plays Judy Upton: Plays Two with Methuen.

Rose Collis’ documentary film The Boy And The Bear is winning multiple awards at film festivals round the world

Howard Ford’s horror feature The Lockdown Hauntings, largely filmed in the Brighton area, is having great success

Meetings 2022

Sussex Playwrights has resumed our monthly face to face meetings.

2022

January – no meeting
February 6th
March 6th
April 3rd Fringe Preview
May 1st Fringe time meeting
June 5th
July 3rd Summer Party
August 7th
September 4th
October 2nd Spooky tales for Halloween 
November 6th
December 4th Christmas Party

Fred Partridge: an appreciation by Trevor Harvey

Fred Partridge, who joined SPC in 1972 and who was still attending the occasional meeting until about eight years ago, has died in Lancing at the age of 101. 
 
Fred was an accountant by profession but he also had a great love of playwriting.
 
Before moving to Brighton, he was a member of the Progress Theatre, Reading where, for twelve years, he was also the manager. Four of his play translations from the French were among works that were staged there.
 
He was a full-time member of The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and one-time Chairman of their Associates Branch.
 
A number of his plays, from the 1960s through to the late 1980s, were broadcast on BBC Radio as well as on radio stations in Germany, Holland and Australia.
 
He joined SPC in 1972 after his adaptation of Tolstoy’s MASTER AND MAN had been given a reading by the club.  His play, THE ENGAGEMENT, was chosen by The New Venture Theatre as their 21st Anniversary production in 1979 and, later, a professional production of his play A SWEET EMOTION formed the nucleus of an Anglia TV Arts programme. Several of Fred’s plays (full-length and one-act) were published for the amateur market and he also wrote short stories and articles.
 
He was a keen and talented photographer and, for many years, was a member of Southwick Camera Club.
 
Many of Fred’s plays were first read at SPC meetings and, as members had come to expect, the writing was always of a high standard. He made helpful observations and gave useful advice during the discussion of other members’ plays and he was always supportive of the club and his fellow writers.
 
Fred was kind, able and he had a gentle sense of humour. It was a pleasure to have known him.
 
Trevor Harvey 

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: An Accidental Birth of an Anarchist

Sussex Playwrights Reviews:
An Accidental Birth of an Anarchist
By Luke Ofield
Directed by Neil Sheppeck
Assistant Director Francesca Boccanera
 
A live theatre performance at The Space, streamed online
 
Alice: Aurea Williamson
Lia: Pip O’Neill
Captain: Michael Jayes
Radio Ben: Gabriel Thomson
 
Two amateur activists get employed on a North Sea oil rig with the sole intention of exercising their right to stage a sit-in protest.
 
Taken from interviews with XR activists and former oil rig engineers, Luke Ofield’s new play at The Space Arts Centre, London is headlining Rising Tides’ Good Cop, Bad Cop 26 festival running alongside the Cop26 talks.
 
A simple set, a thrust stage, scaffolding around the edges with some control panels set the scene.
 
The conversation flows – and it’s a super-current conversation, tapping into everything happening today around climate change and pollution, female voices protesting for the future as the People’s Movement to Protect the Planet.
 
It can feel a bit of an Extinction Rebellion manifesto lecture, yet there are laughs, a wry, dry sense of humour and tetchy wrangling – ‘is this a hostage situation or a therapy session?’ as the enforced company spark snarky little rows while their alliance is starting to form.
 
Tight direction ensures performances bounce along with keen bubbly enthusiasm and urgent intensity from Williamson’s pink cardi-clad mum saving the world for the children and O’Neill’s boiler-suited young idealist with the stats at her fingertips.
 
In contrast, Jayes is a deep and dignified presence, a pragmatic been there, seen it all – til now, with Thomson’s unseen radio voice dialling in chirpy live interjections adding a great sense that there’s a bigger world out there, in the Mrs Wolowitz / Carlton the Doorman tradition.
 
On a technical note – Maybe it’s the venue acoustics, the tech broadcast set up, the internet connection, and with some outside noise and the storm effects, but it was sometimes hard to hear and follow the dialogue and story, especially in heightened moments. I was watching the live stream online so the in-theatre experience would be different.
 
The emergency crisis threatening to overwhelm the rig where they have to work together to avert disaster, putting aside their differences with intergenerational alliance, anger and ‘why won’t you do something’ passion is very now.
 
And it’s another new experience for Sussex Playwrights, being able to enjoy live theatre streamed from London online.
 
Ideal for those who can’t yet go out or go to smaller venues, it opens up the habit of theatre-going to a potentially entirely new audience, and offers equality and inclusion to an existing audience that would love to be able to be there. It’s a great new way to be part of Theatre audiences, and an option I think that is and should be here to stay.
 
90 minutes with a short interval, the play continues 3-12 November at The Space, 269 Westferry Road, London E14 3Rs
 
Philippa Hammond

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Am I Invisible Yet?

Am I Invisible Yet?

Written and performed by Dunstan Bruce
Directed by Sophie Robinson
Produced by Tom Dussek
Movement coach Jack Kristiansen
Lighting tech Katy Matthews

British band Chumbawamba were for thirty years anti authority, anti fascism, anti authoritarianism, pro rights for all and the class struggle – or, ‘what are you rebelling against?’ ‘what have you got?’

A packed audience of friendly fans greeted a barnstorming new solo show written and performed by band member Dunstan Bruce.

Middle age creeps up and suddenly – there it is. And we have a choice; go gently or go raging. Dunstan’s chosen to rage, rant and roar.

Now for most of us with a pre-digital past, there are boxes of photos, cassettes, maybe the odd VHS.

In future we’ll all be haunted by our billions of digital photos and reels, those ‘ten-years-back’ Facebook surprises already a jolt.

But what if you were in a band? There’s already TV clips, TOTP, chat shows, you in performance, in the papers, in youth. How you looked, how you moved, how you sounded, how you were. Then.

Dunstan’s pursued by the past, memories played out on the old telly screen of the mind; here a back wall screen and projector.

It’s a piece of performance poetry and physical theatre, recited, chanted, repeated, lyrics, slogans, questions and demands, scraps of remembered song.

Often angry and despairing, his clips echoed by glimpses of today’s young female activists, you sense the pride and support for this new generation taking over the rage mantle.

At its best, it’s funniest and most engaging when vulnerability and simplicity take over from the bravado, in the chatty ‘I can’t sing’ spontaneous bits round a guitar folk song.

Standout moments include a physical bit with – a fall? A tantrum? Then ‘Did you see what I did there? I got up!’ had the audience howling.

And some great use of the space, one with a megaphone racing all round the theatre building, downstairs, under the auditorium and back up the other side, emerging panting and triumphant.

From coat to pants the palette’s grey, beige and dull – but there’s a red mini skirted bathing costume and garish suit in the mix, that Am I Invisible Yet? sense of naughty irreverence mixed with the challenge.

A touch of clever lighting closes the show as the spotlight shrinks and focuses down to final moments on his face and a message of hope.

In the end, it feels like a show with two personas. Angry-funny, inyerface-endearing; the punky performance poet and the more mellow, reflective, self mocker, who for me was the most captivating.

There’s more subtlety, nuance and layers to be teased out from the piece, and I do hope it goes on beyond this two night event.

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.