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We Are Worthing

We Are Worthing

A year since the first lockdown was announced in the UK we gave you the chance to say Thank You to your pandemic hero by nominating them to be part of our #WeAreWorthing project that captured the faces and stories of the people that shaped our last year. 

We asked our community to submit photographs of the people who have impacted their lives during the pandemic, along with a short description of why the person matters to them or made a difference to the community. These images the formed an outdoor exhibition filling the windows of the iconic seafront Pavilion Theatre and celebrating the amazing people that make up our community and their stories during lockdown. 

The last year has been incredibly challenging for everyone and this was a chance to show your appreciation to someone who had impacted your life. It could be a key worker whose dedication and hard work protecting, providing, caring and keeping the country going amazed you. A parent who has survived the challenges of homeschooling, a friend whose weekly Zoom calls kept you sane, the neighbour who dropped off banana bread, or your grandmother who has been making masks. Someone who has volunteered delivering necessities, helping with vaccinations or providing support to those who need it.

We Are Worthing
We Are Worthing - Pavilion Display
We Are Worthing

Your Heroes

Please click on the hero below to see their story.

Emerging: Q&A with Scarabeus’ Daniela and Naissa
Emerging: Q&A with Scarabeus’ Daniela and Naissa

Emerging: Q&A with Scarabeus’ Daniela and Naissa

ScarabeusEmerging is coming to Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre next month. The show centres on the relationship between a transgender son, who has questioned his gender identity for as long as he can remember, and his mother, as they embark on a journey into the unknown.

This poignant production combines aerial dance and visual theatre with excerpts from letters written to each other to create an immersive multimedia performance.

Artistic Director Daniela and collaborator Naissa harness their art to better understand both themselves and each other as they navigate their relationship and a complex, life-changing press.

While sensitively exploring the themes of gender identity and representation, Emerging is an intimate and epic experience of the power of creativity to facilitate profound change, created in consultation with young gender-diverse and trans-people and their parents/carers.


How are you feeling about your upcoming performance at WTM?

We are feeling excited to bring our new production to WTM. We are now towards the end of the devising and creation process, we are looking forward to make the finishing touches, and then share it with our audience at Worthing.

Tell us a bit about the show. What does it mean to you to bring this to life?

Daniela: Emerging is a multimedia performance involving physical theatre and dance combined with aerial skills. It is layered with visual and metaphorical landscapes, created by juxtaposing live performance, text, designed video projections and a bespoke commissioned soundtrack.

Naissa: Emerging is an exploration of the dialogue between a mother and a young transgender person, how they inevitably have to navigate the transition in their own ways. It also explores how they have to find ways for the pain not to outweigh the love between them. It is a representation of the true dialogue that went between us, via the letters we wrote to each other over the first three years of my transition.

What has the production and development of this performance looked like?

Daniela: We made the decision to be inspired and share extracts from the real letters we wrote to each other during the last 3 years. As the artistic director, i worked very hard with my dramaturg mentor Tessa Walker, in choosing the most significant of these letters, and to edit them to their very essence. Naissa has collaborated in the choice. These letters where never written for the stage, but because of that, they are poignant and draw the audience into a very intimate space. We are not aiming to re-live our story on stage. Through this performance we want to give a true voice to the experience of many unheard people, the trans young people and their families who go through a similar experience to ours. We write our story and history, nobody else can do it for us.

What’s your favourite part?

Daniela: To be working, devising and creating such a complex piece with the most talented, committed and caring team we could have ever collaborated with. We feel safe and well supported in a process that requires continuous courage and strength.


What was the hardest?!

Naissa: It was terrifying at first and raw, but with all our collaborators involved we have found ways to neutralise the space and not re-live those hardships. We feel proud, and hope it speaks to audiences in any capacity.

What do you hope to share with the audience?

Daniela: We hope the audience will have an emotional connection with the characters and the story. If they have experienced a journey similar to ours, I hope they’ll feel well represented. If they didn’t know much about the complexities of gender identity and diversity, I wish they will feel more knowledgeable and inclined to become allies.

Naissa: I want audiences, trans or not, to be able to find some relation to the material, some empathy for our story. Change and acceptance are part of every relationship. Seeing Emerging I hope it illustrates the trans experience and journey, as something we can all find to relate with and therefore have empathy for. I also want other trans and queer audiences, and their families, to feel heard and seen in some capacity.

What does Emerging mean to you on both a personal level, and a professional one?

Daniela: Emerging is surely one of the most challenging pieces of work I have created in my entire professional career, which span over 30 years. It’s challenging because it’s so personal. At the same time is so impactful, and touches the audience at a deep level.

Is there anything else of significance you’d like to share?

The main message the show is conveying is: ‘we are making Emerging because we aspire to live in a world where gender diverse, non-binary and trans people are visible, valued and live safe and fulfilled lives.’

Emerging is an act of courage. We want this story to be a vehicle for advocacy and acceptance. We feel very strongly that the role of culture is to shed light on pivotal subjects and issues of our time. It’s important to do it sensitively and intelligently.

Emerging will be held at the Pavilion Theatre on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October 2022 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available from £13.50. For more information or to book visit wtam.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.


Buy tickets here

WTM x Met College: creating props for Panto
WTM x Met College: creating props for Panto

WTM x Met College: creating props for Panto

WTM have worked extensively with students at the Met College, who have made a number of props ready for this year's Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime. 

We spoke to WTM's Matt Pike, Head of Technical, Production and Buildings, who gave us an insight into the project.


Tell us about the project with the Met College students

In early January, I set the Met College students to make a number of props and set items for the Winter Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The items were:

  • The Beanstalk
  • Golden Goose puppet
  • Golden eggs
  • Harp
  • Treasure mounds
  • Giant plates, cups and cutlery
  • The axe to chop the beanstalk
  • Magic bean that lights up

This all went through a design stage with a few follow-up meetings to decide on the look and finishes. The most important thing is that everything has to be able to withstand 56 shows, and so that it can be used in the future.


What did the process of the collaboration look like?

I had a few client meetings with the, and they kept me up to date with the progress of the project via zoom calls and email, including images of the designs and progress during the making progress to make sure it was what was required.


How did you find working with the Met College students?

Working with the MET students was great, very professional and as you would expect a props maker and team to work to the specification given to them by the client.

They have done a great job and I look forward to setting the project for next year’s panto.


Buy tickets here

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Frock
Spin Out: behind the scenes with Frock

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Frock

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

Closing this year's season is the fantastic Frock, an uplifting dance riot that celebrates individuality and difference in the most punk way.

Frock will be on at 12:30pm and 2pm on Saturday 10 September, at Pavilion Promenade.

Six striking dancers collide in an uplifting dance riot set to a brand new art rock soundtrack by Hannah Miller and Oli Austin of Moulettes. In this quirky new dance piece, watch playful observations of the yesteryears explode into a ‘punkish’ celebration of individuality and difference.

Artistic Director Lucy Bennett from dance company Stopgap Dance shared the development of this piece with us:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

We are counting the days, both Jannick (performer in Frock) and myself (choreographer) grew up in Worthing! We met in Belgium after someone commented on my ‘I love BRIGHTON’ bag, I stated I came from Worthing and Jannick piped up – “so do I”. Frock was an idea that grew from my memories of my grandparents who lived in Shoreham by Sea; I think the work will look really at home on the Worthing Seafront and Seaside Architecture.

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from? What can we expect?

Frock is an outdoor dance show with six dancers, disabled and non-disabled. It is set to an original soundtrack by Moulettes. The idea grew from my recollections and childlike musings around the gender roles my grandparents presented. The production starts gently with a nostalgic feel and moves quite quickly to a high energy and physically upbeat dance riot! Expect frocks, suits, shifting dance sequences, dance partnering, unison movement, tea and a celebration of love, relationships and fluidity.

What has the development of this piece looked like?

We have been touring Frock for a couple of years now, but we had to take a break during the pandemic. We are always tightening the work and layering the characters. We began with a lot of observation of vintage footage of men and women, we also observed our families and each other. We worked on the tempo, pace and physicality of the two groups we have in the production: Suits and Skirts. We then worked on a West Side Story Style dance off, evolving material. The standing dancers spent time translating movement from Nadenh, Stopgap’s phenomenal wheelchair dancer – so that the unison between different bodies is refined and articulated. We developed duets that transitioned between different relationships, and we played with a fun, quick and exuberant musical theatre style finale with teacups!

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

I enjoy the absorbing song Elastic Band by the Moulettes, the bass throbs and the dancers pace the space as duets between different people are revealed.

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

It feels great to be finally performing in Worthing after so many years!

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Introducing WTM associate artists A&E Comedy
Introducing WTM associate artists A&E Comedy

Introducing WTM associate artists A&E Comedy

We are so excited to announce A&E COMEDY as our new associate artists.

The award-winning comedy double act, Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards, both studied Scriptwriting for Film and Television at the University of Sussex. They have gone on to write a number of scripts for television and film, and are now here with their new show WITCH HUNT.

Tell us a bit about A&E Comedy, for those who may not know you yet!

We make visual, funny, surreal shows full of ridiculous characters, fantastical costumes, extreme wigs and deliciously dark humour. Our shows hold a mirror to the word and reflect it in all its messy, complicated glory. Our first show Enter The Dragons won the Broadway Baby Bobby for Best Show at Brighton Fringe.  Witch Hunt landed a second Bobby nomination and won the Infallibles Award for Excellence.  

"These two women are unafraid, unabashed, completely hilarious and very, very silly to boot.” *****

Broadway Baby

What can we expect to see from the show?

WITCH HUNT weaves a cautionary fairy tale for our time. We celebrate the wisdom of the witch, unpack the notion of predator and conjure a world of coven-ready weird sisters.  Using buffoon, puppetry and magic and armed with a Wiccan sense of humour, we ask “can we use witchcraft to take down the patriarchy?" Yes we can!

Witch Hunt

What has the development of the show looked like?

As writer/performers we constantly update our shows to reflect current events.  Witch Hunt originally developed from the #MeToo movement and adoption of the term Witch Hunt by Trump. The show originally, directed by Cal McCrystal and Bryony Kimmings as dramaturg, opened at Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe 2018. We were about to embark on a National tour in 2019, when lockdown struck.  In this remounted production we will look through the lens of the last two years, Tory sleaze, Roe v Wade and the fact that the world is on fire.  Expect plenty of new material!

How do you feel about working with WTM?

We are really thrilled to be working with WTM.  Worthing has such an array of fantastic spaces and a growing reputation for excellent, inspired programming.  WTM has been very supportive to us, hosting rehearsal space for Witch Hunt and the development of our new show next year. This feels full circle for Emma who went to the Saturday drama club at the Connaught as a child and Art College in Union Place.

Keep up to date with A&E Comedy

Website: aandecomedy.co.uk

Twitter: @ae_comedy

Instagram: @comedy_ae


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Teddy Climas and Big Ted return to Sussex
Teddy Climas and Big Ted return to Sussex

Teddy Climas and Big Ted return to Sussex

There are some toys that are so special, it’s hard not to personify them. Teddy Climas is one of these. With over one hundred years on the earth, Teddy Climas’ story is a good one, and it starts and ends in Sussex.

The early years

Teddy Climas is a 1909 Steiff bear, complete with the humpback, ear button, and long arms that are recognisable as a Steiff creation. He was gifted to Mrs Elizabeth Bennett when she was around three years old in the early 20th Century. He was the one thing she had taken from her home in London during the Blitz as she ran for shelter, and he stayed with her throughout her life.

Joining a new family

In 1977-1978, when Mrs Bennett was in her late 70s, she came across an advert placed in the local paper asking “where are the teddy bears?” The ad was placed in a bid to rehome old teddy bears. The authors of the advert were the Neher family, who had travelled from Canada to spend the academic year in Brighton. Mrs Bennett answered the advert, expressing concern for Teddy Climas’ future as her daughter didn’t want him. A meeting was organised between the Neher family and Mrs Bennet, after which she approved the Nehers as the new guardians of her beloved bear.

In the same year, the Nehers bought Big Ted in Hove. Big Ted is thought to be a Chad Valley bear, created circa 1920, and he has been with Teddy Climas ever since. The two joined the Neher family on their travels back to the USA and Canada, and have been together ever since.

Coming home

This year in 2022, Teddy Climas and Big Ted began their journey back home to Sussex. They are here in Worthing Museum for their next chapter, and we’re excited for you all to meet them.

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Lucky Pigeon
Spin Out: behind the scenes with Lucky Pigeon

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Lucky Pigeon

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

The penultimate performance of the season is Lucky Pigeon, a playful show involving acrobatics, aerials, and pigeons.

Lucky Pigeon will be on at 2pm and 5pm on Saturday 3 September, at Pavilion Promenade.

A young businessman struggles with the demands of city life.

After losing his job, he takes his frustrations out on a group of city pigeons. Karma gets him and the young man finds himself turned into a pigeon! Through the transformation he learns about the playful world of a misunderstood animal.

Join the Lucky Pigeons and see them perform daring aerials, acrobatic feats and be part of their soulful story.


We caught up with Producer Toffy Paulweber from Brainfools to find out what we can expect:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

Our Lucky Pigeons performers feel very excited for the upcoming SPIN OUT festival! It will be our first time presenting the show in Worthing and we literally cannot wait. The full cast have been training hard for this show; it’s going to be amazing.

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from?

The show started by looking at themes of homelessness. As the majority of the cast are based in London, homelessness is something we witness every day. As ideas bounced around the room, we all agreed that homeless people are often ignored and/or mistreated. We linked this to city animals like pigeons, who are just doves in disguise. Why one is considered beautiful, and the other dirty and disgusting?

What has the development of this piece looked like?

Take a packed suitcase, an open mind set, and a wonky looking circus structure… oh and put on some pigeon costumes! We have a very collaborative approach within our collective. Each performer has a second role, to ensure smooth sailing. For example, Finn is our creative brain (director), and Toffy our skilled organiser (producer).

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

Our favourite part of the show is of course the deep meaning married with silly circus. We love working together and I feel like that’s what moves people when they come to see our show. And, of course, the amazing pigeon puppets by Holly Miller!

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

It’s our ambition to act as a catalyst for global change. We may feel like a bunch of small ants in this giant forest but if many tiny ants move in the same direction we can move mountains. That’s what we want to achieve through circus tell our story and get people to shift their perspective.

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Panto cast announcement: Darren, Ross, and Brian
Panto cast announcement: Darren, Ross, and Brian

Panto cast announcement: Darren, Ross, and Brian

Darren Clewlow-Smith, Ross Muir, and Brian Blessed are joining the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime this year!

About Darren

Darren has a number of accolades to boast, from numerous TV stints to a wide variety of theatre credits.

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Darren graduated from The Birmingham School Of Speech Training & Dramatic Art before starting his journey in acting. He is primarily known as Milos in Heartbeat, and other TV work includes The Bill, Crossroads, Albion Market, The Chronicles of Narnia, Grange Hill, Brookside, and Blue Peter, as well as appearing in several television adverts.

Darren’s theatre credits include Dracula, Look Back in Anger, As You Like It,  King Lear, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to name a few.

His work includes Malcolm in Burning Midnight and Vanderberg in Wall on the Fly.

About Ross

Ross is an independent actor, theatre producer, venue programmer, and drama teacher based in the South East.

He describes his passion as “live theatre that really engages its audiences. I love good stories that resonate with timeless, universal themes about the human condition which are told with energy, humour, and most of all love.”

“When I leave the theatre I want to be uplifted, inspired and moved. I am dedicated to the craft of acting and enjoy sharing these stories through the special bond created between an actor and a live audience and strive in making that experience unique and unforgettable.”

Ross also has his own theatre company Conn Artists.

About Brian

From mountain climbing expeditions to music, theatre to television, film to space training, Brian’s huge arsenal of experience translates well in productions. In perhaps the most fitting casting of all, Brian will be voicing the Giant, thanks to his immediately recognisable and distinctive voice.

Brian’s incredible life spans an amazing 85 years, and in that time his accolades have been adding up. His theatre career has seen him feature in everything from  Cats to Hamlet, Peter Pan to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His television and film appearances include Flash Gordon, Tom Jones, Doctor Who, and The Three Musketeers.

About the Panto

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.

Golden Week runs from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 8 December 2021, with all tickets priced £10-£18.

Keep an eye out for our cast announcements on our website and social media channels!

Panto cast announcement: Katie Pritchard
Panto cast announcement: Katie Pritchard

Panto cast announcement: Katie Pritchard

Award-winning comedian and West End actor Katie Pritchard is bringing her bubbly personality to Jack and the Beanstalk!

About Katie

Katie Pritchard is a woman of many talents. From her award-winning comedy to her all-girl rock ‘n’ roll band The Daisy Chains, Katie has done it all.

She’s been in both West End productions and on the television, she’s a writer and artist, and has created podcasts while appearing on others. She has illustrated books, created short films, produced a clothing line, and so much more. Her skills are incomparable.

In her own words, Katie is “a stupid idiot who likes to prance around, often with props, costumes, and musical instruments for fun. I have also run four marathons and one triathlon.”

About the Panto

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.

Golden Week runs from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 8 December 2021, with all tickets priced £10-£18.

Keep an eye out for our cast announcements on our website and social media channels!

Panto cast announcement: Dave Benson Phillips
Panto cast announcement: Dave Benson Phillips

Panto cast announcement: Dave Benson Phillips

We’re so excited that Dave Benson Phillips is bringing his infamous family entertainment charm to Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime.

About Dave

Dave Benson Phillips is revered for his many career roles: presenter, entertainer, broadcaster, musician, performer, prolific writer and doer of to-do lists. His career started in 1981, at the famous Polka Children’s Theatre in Wimbledon, where he worked as a Theatre Usher. He was bitten by the performing bug and duly set out to learn the art of entertaining children. He appeared in various magic and music shows, and even helped out with the creation of props and costumes. He was eager to learn all there was to know about show business, and set himself the task of doing so.

Over the years, Dave worked his way from ‘song and dance man’ at holiday parks to his own show at the BBC, the phenomenally popular, BAFTA-nominated Get Your Own Back. He then went on to present ITV’s Wake Up In The Wild Room. He has also presented numerous other series including CITV’s Petswap, Nickelodeon’s Nick JNR, BBC Education’s Go For It, as well as Disney’s Bitesize and Playhouse Disney.

 Pantomimes have featured heavily in Dave’s career, with his appearances winning him rave reviews and full houses. Despite his hectic schedule, Dave has always found time for children with special needs, amongst whom his Makaton sign language video is extremely popular. He also donates many hours to charity work both nationally and internationally. Dave was inducted into Britain’s only Children’s Walk of Fame, as voted for by the nation’s children. His plaque can be seen at Drusilla’s Park, Sussex.

2007 was a very special year for Dave, as he got to celebrate 25 years of entertaining children! Dave performed some very special shows nationwide as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the public for letting him do his favourite job for so long.

Since then, Dave has appeared on a number of TV shows, voiced several characters, toured the nation, performed in pantomimes, created a broadcasting unit from his bedroom during the Coronavirus pandemic, and made shows for Channels 4 and 5, and BBC Local and National TV and radio.

On top of his notoriety as a children’s presenter, Dave also DJs at clubs, events and universities around the UK. His eclectic mix of party tunes, pop hits, TV themes and rare tracks from the 50s through to the present have won him fans across the country. They lovingly refer to him as ‘Rave Benson Phillips’, or ‘the Godfather of Cheese’!

Dave is also a part-time wrestler. He participates in as many fights as his schedule will allow.

About the Panto

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.

Golden Week runs from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 8 December 2021, with all tickets priced £10-£18.

Keep an eye out for our cast announcements on our website and social media channels!

Join our team as a Distribution and Engagement Volunteer!
Join our team as a Distribution and Engagement Volunteer!

Join our team as a Distribution and Engagement Volunteer!

Do you love theatre, archaeology or films? Do you want to support your local Arts and Heritage charity? 

Well join our team as a local Distribution and Engagement Volunteer and help us spread the word about our fantastic programme of events, exhibitions and films!






We need your help to get our brochures and print out into your community. Our aim is to establish long-term links with businesses, shops, and groups in your area who would be willing to display our brochures, posters or flyers, either on their notice boards, in windows or on counters or reception desks etc.

As a Distribution and Engagement Volunteer you would just need to collect a small quantity of brochures or flyers from us on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and take them out to your local businesses, cafes, community centres, libraries and anywhere you can think of local to you.

We would love to hear from you if you would like to be involved! We are specifically looking for volunteers who are living, working or can distribute print in Shoreham, Lancing, Goring-By-Sea, Ferring, East Preston, Angmering, Littlehampton, Bognor and surrounding areas.

What a Local Distribution and Engagement volunteer will do:

  • Regularly distribute information and flyers to local shops and businesses in your area.
  • Build links with outreach groups e.g. libraries, local cafés, community centres, lunch clubs, exercise classes
  • Establish and maintain on-going connections with the above.

Personal qualities most suited to this role:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Reliability
  • Enjoy meeting new people and sharing information
  • Ability to carry and distribute printed materials such as leaflets, posters etc.

Benefits

  • Free tickets to selected shows and films (once a month)
  • Invitations to exclusive events including press evenings and private views

How much time is involved?

This is flexible! As a distribution volunteer you would just need to collect a small quantity of brochures or flyers from us on a monthly of bi-monthly basis and distribute them in your local area.

If you would like to be involved please email marketing@wtm.uk.

Panto cast announcement: Mark Read
Panto cast announcement: Mark Read

Panto cast announcement: Mark Read

We’re so excited to announce that boyband heartthrob Mark Read will joining us for this year’s panto, bringing his infamous charisma to Worthing.

About Mark

Singer-songwriter Mark achieved global success with 90s boyband A1, releasing five studio albums and a string of UK and international Top Five hits, reaching the coveted Number One spot with ‘Same Old Brand New You’ and their cover of A-ha’s classic ‘Take On Me’. Their critical and popular acclaim led to numerous awards including MTV, Smash Hits, Disney Channel, and the prestigious Brit award for Best Newcomer. 

The band split in 2002 after four years of chart-topping success but joined forces once again (this time as a three-piece with Mark, Ben and Christian) in 2014 for ITV’s hugely popular documentary series The Big Reunion. The candid programme gave fans an insight into the highs and lows of the group’s history culminating in a major UK arena tour and a renewed surge of appetite from their loyal fan base. In 2018, A1 announced that original member Paul would be reuniting with the band for the first time in 15 years for a huge 20th anniversary tour. Their first UK concert date of the tour at London’s O2 Academy Islington sold out in a breath-taking four minutes. 

Away from the band, accomplished musician and songwriter Mark has written for international artistes including Michael Bolton, Boyzone, The Hollies, John Barrowman and Charlotte Church. Mark has also established himself as a confident musical theatre performer. In recent years he has enjoyed successful runs of hit shows Guys and Dolls, Rent and Spoonful of Sherman, Corny Collins in feel-good favourite, Hairspray, alongside astrologer Russell Grant as Edna, as well as the playing Prince Charming in Worthing’s Cinderella in 2019.

About the Panto

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.

Golden Week runs from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 8 December 2021, with all tickets priced £10-£18.

Keep an eye out for our cast announcements on our website and social media channels!

Panto cast announcement: Flavia Cacace-Mistry
Panto cast announcement: Flavia Cacace-Mistry

Panto cast announcement: Flavia Cacace-Mistry

We’re so excited to announce that Flavia Cacace-Mistry will joining us for this year’s panto.

Flavia will be starring as the Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime, bringing some Strictly sparkle and a whole lot of personality to the role! This fairy will be like none you have ever seen before. Flavia’s fairy is a wellie-wearing, chicken-keeping, tango-dancing delight, and we can’t wait for you to meet her.

About the character

Working with Paul Holman Associates, WTM have cast Strictly dancers in our pantomime for the past five years, loving the unique skill they bring to the stage. This year, we decided to make the role more bespoke.

Having followed Flavia and her husband Jimi’s journey on their Instagram (@ourlifeatthebarn), we fell in love with their adoration of ‘the ladies’, their small flock of chickens. We wanted to incorporate this, thus our wellie-wielding fairy was born!

We found a local theatrical prop-maker, Mya Workshop, to create six chicken puppets, of which Lauren Pilbeam did a fabulous job. We have fallen in love with our new mascots, which you can expect to pop up in the most unexpected places during the panto!

About Flavia

Flavia is one of the nation’s favourite dancers and personalities, from her Glitterball-winning exploits on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing to her formidable dance partnership with Vincent Simone. Over the course of eight years, the duo have sold out multiple nationwide shows, had three West End runs, and have picked up several award nominations, including ‘Best Family Entertainment’ at the Olivier Awards. They have also performed at The Royal Variety Show and The BBC Proms. The dance couple have had a very successful career competing internationally in Ballroom & Latin Ten Dance, winning numerous titles.

Flavia has appeared and performed on numerous TV shows over the years including Strictly Come Dancing, Royal Variety Show at London Palladium, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway, The Generation Game, BBC Children in Need, The Magicians, Surprise Surprise, Mel and Sue, The Paul O’Grady Show, Celebrity Portrait of the Year Show and BBC Breakfast amongst others.

More recently, Flavia has set up her dance school ‘Dance With Flavia’ and fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving to the countryside and living on a small holding with her husband Jimi Mistry and their two dogs. You can follow their journey @ourlifeatthebarn on Instagram and FB.

About the Panto

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206.

Golden Week runs from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 8 December 2021, with all tickets priced £10-£18.

Keep an eye out for our cast announcements on our website and social media channels!

Black Umfolosi: Q&A with Thomeki Dube
Black Umfolosi: Q&A with Thomeki Dube

Black Umfolosi: Q&A with Thomeki Dube

Black Umfolosi is bringing Zimbabwean culture and tradition to the stage in Worthing with a beauty and enthusiasm that is unrivalled.

Their performances are energy driven, infectious, and completely engaging, mixing a great gentleness of spirit and song with an exuberance in dance. Their harmonies mixed with intricate rhythms, clicking and clapping are highlighted during their brilliantly choreographed shows with a full range of movements from subtle to vibrant stomping and leaping! Their famous Gumboot Dances showcase the traditional styles and rituals of the South African mining regions and are a particular crowd pleaser.

“It was the best of all the festival, they have an incredible way to sing, to dance, a beautiful presence on the stage. Their simplicity, naturalness and cheerfulness was for us, at the end of the festival a beautiful present.” Milan Festival

We caught up with Thomeki Dube who heads the group to find out all about their performance.

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing?

We are so much looking forward to the performance at Worthing. It is great that we have been invited there. We love the British audiences; they are supportive and appreciative to the good form of Art. Black Umfolosi will not disappoint.

Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this piece.

Our inspiration is derived from our culture and iMbube Music, which is a beautiful form of singing in four-part harmony. It is a crystal clear form of music that one cannot resist. We feel very lucky to come from a rich cultural background, which influences us mightily.

What has the development of this performance looked like?

The development has yielded the most beautiful results; with the ladies, our music is sweeter and more appealing than ever before. Their great talent is visible throughout the show where they lead some solo singing and duet in some instances. The show is spectacular.

What can we expect from the show?

You can expect a real treat: spine-tingling voices interwoven with beautiful movements and in nice African costuming. Also, a miner’s dance called the Gumboot Dance at the very end of the second half of the show. Expect a singalong on one or two of the songs!

What is the aim of Black Umfolosi?

We hope to bring joy to our audience. Our songs range from love to social events, and include environmental songs that touch on climate change and advise people to take extra care on Mother Earth.

How important is it for you to bring your culture and tradition to Worthing?

It is very important for us to share our experiences with Worthing, particularly our journey in music as Zimbabweans. Those that have never been to Zimbabwe will, from this performance, know more about who we are, our heritage, and the geographical look of our country.

What are you most looking forward to?

We are most looking forward to taking the audience on a musical journey with Black Umfolosi through our performance. They will clap hands, laugh, listen, and feel great and refreshed from watching the band perform.

Do you have a favourite part of the performance? Can you tell us what it is?

The show is arranged in such a way that it is enjoyable all the way through. It involves lots of energy. I will say that whoever attends will not regret it, but would want to see Black Umfolosi again. Our new album called Washabalala’ Umhlaba is wonderful, and has done so well in European charts, with two of the songs entering the Top 20 in the Czech Republic. This will be our first trip outside Africa after the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

What has been your favourite Black Umfolosi performance of all time?

My most favourite performance was in Victoria Canada in 1994, during The Commonwealth Games, where we performed before a crowd of 65,00 people, and followed with a Gala performance for Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Thomkei Dube meeting the Queen

Thomkei Dube meeting the Queen

Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Lost Colour
Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Lost Colour

Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Lost Colour

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

The fifth performance is The Lost Colour, where we join Malcolm on his quest to find the pinky-est pink in the world followed by a puppet-making workshop.

The Lost Colour will be on at 11:30 am and 1:30am on Saturday 6 August, at Pavilion Promenade.

Join Malcolm Brushell, a professional painter and amateur alchemist, on his quest to find the pinky-est pink paint on the planet! Through cracking rocks, mashing every conceivable vegetable, and even bottling and fermenting his own cow’s wee, he has created every colour imaginable. Through stunning puppetry and an energy fuelled performance all on top of a van, join this race to create the most potent pigmented pink paint out there.

Following the 1:30pm performance of The Lost Colour, you can pop along to their puppet-making workshop, where each participant will cut, stick, and paint their way to creating their very own puppet. The focus of this workshop is to encourage all types of creativity where there are no wrong answers.

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

This is our first time at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival and we are really excited to be part of such a great line up. We can’t wait to get outside and perform to a great crowd.

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from? What can we expect?

The story of the show was inspired from a real life feud between artist Stuart Semple and Anish Kapoor and the copyright of VantaBlack, the then blackest black material. From this we did a lot of research into the ways colours are made and wrote The Lost Colour where our artist Malcolm Brushell goes on a journey to create the pink-y-est pink (which Semple has released and features in the show!). Malcolm’s journey is mad, fast-paced, and action-packed, and it all happens on top of The Puppet Van. It’s a really fun story with lots of twists and turns, and a highland cow that takes down a helicopter!

What has the development of this piece looked like?

We first developed the story in Oct 2021 and it has been touring ever since. It’s the first show we have created for our Puppet Van and it has been really fun and challenging to create a show that happens 2m in the air on top of the van. We always love a show with lots of really different puppets and surprises so the creation of the piece has been a collaborative gradual process with lots of different artists and people involved, including the band Fishclaw who made a unique soundtrack for the piece.

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

We love the puppets of course, this being on The Puppet Van. There is a giant beetle, a highland cow and everything changes scale and we see Malcolm as a table top puppet. It’s really exciting to watch the set change as the story progresses and our audience is swept along with the puppets leading the action.

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

Join us for the puppet making workshop! This is always really fun and allows you to be creative with no real constrictions. It’s going to be a fantastic day out.

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Phileas Fogg
Spin Out: behind the scenes with Phileas Fogg

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Phileas Fogg

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

The fourth performance in the SPIN OUT schedule involves an explorer and a hot air balloon. Phileas Fogg: Day 79 is coming to Worthing!

Phileas Fogg: Day 79 will be on at 12pm, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday 30 July, at South Street Square.

Join Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout as they attempt to circumnavigate the world in just 80 days. The year is 1872 and it’s day 79 of the journey. Our intrepid adventurers are just hours away from crossing the finish line, if they can just coerce their hot air balloons to go in the right direction they stand to win a grand prize.

From the makers of Baba Yaga’s House, The Giant Balloon Show and The Tiny Travelling Tightwire Show comes a hilarious roam-about fusing modern technology and the classic adventure novel by Jules Verne.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUN4tAi2SM

Alana Jones of Dizzy O'Dare told us more:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

Dizzy O’Dare love bringing their shows to Worthing; the audiences are always so welcoming, up for some fun and really engaged with the work.

Tell us a bit about the show. What can we expect?

Phileas Fogg: Day 79 sees Phileas Fogg and Passpartout on the last leg of their journey- just dropping into Worthing to see what Spin Out Festival is all about! Will they make it to the finish line in London by Day 80???

What has the development of this piece looked like?

The piece was funded by Arts Council England with support from Spare Parts Festival and Just So Festival in 2018.

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

Dizzy O’Dare is all about the interaction with our audiences, whether the show is a static larger scale spectacle or small intimate walkabout, we seek moments of interaction and rapport with every audience we come into contact with, spreading joy, laughter and wonder..

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Spin Out: behind the scenes with WILD
Spin Out: behind the scenes with WILD

Spin Out: behind the scenes with WILD

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

Brought to you from Motionhouse, WILD is the third performance of Spin Out; a daring dance-circus production that explores our disconnect with the natural environment.

WILD will be on at 2pm and 4:45pm on Saturday 23 July, at Montague Place.

What is it to be wild?

WILD, the daring dance-circus production from Motionhouse, explores our disconnect with the natural environment. In our modern lives, is the wild still shaping our behaviour?

WILD creates an urban forest in the everyday of the city. Using the powerful physicality distinctive to Motionhouse, performers use dynamic choreography, acrobatic movement and hand-to-hand partnering to move through a forest of tall poles, which forms the striking set for WILD. From the top of the pole, life in the canopy looks down onto the forest floor – a dangerous world of unknown meetings.

We caught up with Junior Cunningham, Rehearsal Director of Motionhouse, to see what it’s all about:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

We are very excited to be performing at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival. We had a fantastic reaction to our latest theatre production Nobody at Worthing Theatres and we’re excited to return and share our outdoor work WILD with audiences too.

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from?

WILD explores our disconnect with the natural environment and asks if, in our increasingly urban lives, the wild is still shaping our behaviour?

Our Artistic Director Kevin Finnan was very interested in the relationship between humans and the natural world. He wanted to look at how so much of who we are as humans has come from us being wild creatures and ask the question: as our connection with nature disappears in the modern world, is this changing us as a species? He also wanted to explore the idea of how we value wildness, and if it’s possible to do this if we’ve lost touch with it.

This is why the action takes place in a forest of tall poles which the dancers move through when performing using our signature dance-circus style.

What did the development of this piece look like?

Kevin works collaboratively with the dancers to create the choreography and movement vocabulary as he develops each new work. He sets creative tasks and allocates time for the dancers to explore ideas on the set, in order to tease out the possibilities that this offers in terms of being an ‘apparatus’ for the movement to take place on. This process for WILD began at the end of 2018 when the dancers worked on a period of Research and Development on the prototype set for WILD before creating the show on the set in 2019, keeping a strong storyline to the show alongside the circus tricks that we are known for.

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

I don’t really have a favourite part, but I love one particular moment which always make the audience laugh without fail. You’ll have to come and see the show to find out which one it is! There are loads of other things to enjoy too – some fantastic choreography, daring acrobatics and some really moving moments.

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

We do hope loads of people will come out to watch WILD. It’s suitable for all ages, so bring the whole family.

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Grimm Sisters
Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Grimm Sisters

Spin Out: behind the scenes with The Grimm Sisters

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

The second performance of the season is The Grimm Sisters, a fairytale journey with music, singing, and comedy.

The Grimm Sisters will be on at 11:30pm and 1pm on Saturday 16 July, at Pavilion Promenade.

You know the Brothers Grimm? The famous storytellers…or story stealers more like! Their sisters were the true brains behind the books, but thanks to a treacherous father, a nasty curse and a great big dollop of bad luck, you’ve probably never heard of them.

The Grimm Sisters are here to set the record straight. Join them on the journey as they tell their twisted tales with a marvellous mix of live music, singing and comedy. Dive headfirst into their weird world of poisonous parents, courageous quests & a magical frog called Jeremy (Jeremy is not to be trusted).

Keep your mind sharp and your guts gory, because in the blink of an eyelash, you might find yourself within the story…


Alice Higginson-Clarke, Co-Artistic Director, told us all about the upcoming performance:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

We’re really looking forward to coming to Worthing for the first time. The Grimm Sisters, Mitzi & Brunhilda, are terrified of birds so it will be hilarious to see how they cope with all the seagulls!

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from? What can we expect?

We wanted to make a storytelling show with lots of short stories, so the Brothers Grimm came to mind… but as a female-led company, our shows usually flip the narrative on traditionally male stories. In these traditional tales, women often are placed in certain roles such as the evil stepmother, the princess or the wife and rarely have power or agency in the story.

So we decided to invent Brunhilda & Mitzi (fictional sisters) who are determined to share their very own tales, each of which has a leading female character who saves the day.

The ‘Ugly Sisters’ are a classic duo that everyone knows, so The Grimm Sisters is our spin on a more loveable double-act who have travelled the world together for over 200 years (due to an unfortunate curse), but they’re making the best of it by telling their tales to whoever they meet along the way.

What has the development of this piece looked like?

We made this show last year, when the whole country was still dealing with pandemic restrictions. We knew if we wanted to get back to performing live theatre, the best way would be outdoors! It’s our first outdoor show (after making 6 indoor shows since 2013) so we consulted with other experienced outdoor theatre experts in the making of it. We’re so glad to still be touring The Grimm Sisters in 2022 as it’s so nice to be outdoors in the summer months, instead of inside a dark theatre.

As a piece of family theatre, we’re passionate about making it enjoyable for everyone (adults included!). Our aim was always to make the storytelling clear enough for younger audiences but layered and engaging for adults too. We hope the stories, comedy & music transcend age and connect with everyone in the audience.

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

My favourite thing about The Grimm Sisters is that every show is different – you will never do the same show twice. Every story has elements of audience interaction so it’s completely dependent on what the audience suggests. It really keeps us on our toes as performers & makes it a really fun challenge.  The audience even gets the opportunity to create their own story which the sisters must improvise on the spot. From many of the shows we’ve done, that’s often everyone’s favourite bit – audience & performers alike!

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

Saturday 16 July will be a super Saturday! We have two casts who tour The Grimm Sisters: a team in the South East and one in the South West. This allows The Grimm Sisters to be on the promenade in Worthing, and at the very same time, in some Cornish woods near Bodmin! Magic!

 

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

Stories of Pride
Stories of Pride

Stories of Pride

Ahead of Worthing Pride 2022, and following the success of our Pride Storytelling Workshop last month, we wanted to share the fantastic and uplifting results with you all.

The workshop’s aim was to help develop people’s creative voice by writing a story about their personal pride journeys. International touring artist and tutor Charmaine Childs led the workshop, which allowed the members to improve their storytelling skills in a supportive group environment. WTM are proud to support, uplift and share local LGBTQIA+ stories.

About the workshop

Charmaine’s workshop was split into two sections: the first half of the day focused on writing a piece about one’s personal sense of pride, whether this was an event, a memory, or something that makes them feel powerful; the second half of the day looked at the skills of micro-storytelling, and how best to express oneself using a minimal amount of words.

About Charmaine

Charmaine Childs is a circus Strong Lady who produces joyful shows about strength and connection. She tours international arts festivals and develops bespoke storytelling and writing workshops. With her creative support, and by sharing ideas within a safe space, you’ll be encouraged to explore your identity and celebrate it through storytelling.

About the work

You can read the work below, and you can also see the work represented in our venues - pieces of work from these sessions will be displayed as digital installations at WTM Venues over Worthing Pride 2022. WTM is thrilled to share local queer stories and is committed to supporting LGBTQIA+ artists.

LGBTQ+ Community of Worthing

WTM is also excited to introduce the LGBTQ+ Community of Worthing; a local non-profit group, inclusive of all members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. They're committed to creating a safe Queer space in Worthing and the surrounding areas, and reguarly host social events where likeminded people can spend time together and learn something new. The Pride Storytelling Workshop was one of these events.

Stories of Pride













Spin Out: behind the scenes with Jham!
Spin Out: behind the scenes with Jham!

Spin Out: behind the scenes with Jham!

We are so excited that SPIN OUT Festival is returning this summer for more performances around our wonderful town.

SPIN OUT is our annual season of open-air performances from the most exciting performers of theatre, circus, music, and dance. All of the shows are completely free to the public, offering both residents and visitors the chance to engage with and enjoy thrilling innovative outdoor performances.

The season kicks off with Jham!, an upbeat and energetic performance comprised of traditional dancing.

Jham! will be on at 12:30pm and 2pm on Saturday 9 July, at Montague Place.

Jham! is brought to you by Artistic Director of Srishti, Nina Rajarani MBE, an award-winning choreographer of classical Indian dance with 30 years’ experience as a dance-maker. She fuels traditions of Bharatanatyam and Kathak with contemporary artistic practice and ideas.

Nina’s latest production is an upbeat, playful, and energetic musical collaboration between dancers and musicians that uses creative improvisation – or “jamming” – to initiate a rhythmic interplay between classical and modern forms of music and dance.

Jham! has a distinctly contemporary feel, with four musicians – including a beatboxer, a saxophonist and a traditional Karnatik vocalist – performing alongside four Kathak and Bharatanatyam dancers.

We spoke to Nina to find out more:

How are you feeling about the upcoming performance at Worthing’s Spin Out Festival?

Really excited! We haven’t performed in Worthing before, so it is a new opening for the company for which we are really grateful.

Tell us a bit about the show. Where did the idea come from? What can we expect?

I first made this piece in 2013 for touring to indoor venues. ‘Jham’ is a percussive syllable used in Indian classical dance and music and because the word reminds me of ‘jam’ I created a piece in which the musicians and dancers were ‘jamming’ together, so there was already an air of spontaneity with the way the artists interacted with each other, even within the formal atmosphere of an indoor theatre. I could immediately see the potential for it to become a piece that would drop some of its formality and would go one step further to be interactive with the audience.

What has the development of this piece looked like?

This piece allows the performers to interact with their audience as part of the performance, building up a rapport with them. Outdoor touring is so much fun because of its informal set up, and because the barrier between the performers and the audience is minimised. The development of this piece has created a performance that everyone enjoys performing as the artists can really take ownership of their role.

What’s your favourite part of the performance?

Definitely all the improvised sections of the piece. There is something new every time I watch the piece, and each performer’s character comes through. The surprise element never fails to put a smile on my face. It is such a happy piece.

Anything else you want to share or feel is significant?

This piece is an amalgamation of different cultures and artforms, bringing together 2 classical dance forms (Kathak from North India and Bharatanatyam from South India), a funky beatboxer and classical Indian vocalist, tabla and mridangam which are percussion instruments from the north and south respectively, as well as a classical flute and a jazzy saxaphone. There is something for everyone.

SPIN OUT is an entirely free festival, but it’s always worth booking tickets to secure your place in the audience. You don’t want to miss out! Click the name of the performance to book your tickets.

While SPIN OUT is free for you to enjoy, you can support us in other ways, from becoming a member to one-off donations. Click here to see how you can support your local arts charity, and keep the quality art and culture alive.

WTM Stories: solar panels on the Assembly Hall roof
WTM Stories: solar panels on the Assembly Hall roof

WTM Stories: solar panels on the Assembly Hall roof

We’re very excited about the recently installed solar panels on our Assembly Hall roof.

96 new solar panels have been installed to the Assembly Hall to further support Worthing’s aim of becoming a carbon-neutral Council by 2030.

The panels will produce enough electricity each year to power the average equivalent used by almost 11 individual households. The electricity that is created by these panels will be used in the events building, with any excess used in the Town Hall. This will reduce the amount of electricity imported from the grid.

This step towards a greener future aligns with WTM's values in achieving sustainability and reducing climate change, thus reducing the impact of climate change on our town and charity.

WTM Stories: incredible feedback following the performance of Hearty
WTM Stories: incredible feedback following the performance of Hearty

WTM Stories: incredible feedback following the performance of Hearty

After hosting the lovely Emma Frankland for her performance of Hearty in May, we’ve received wonderful feedback from both her producer and the audience. This feedback makes everything we do worthwhile and gives us something to be proud of!

From Lee Smith, the independent producer of Hearty, we received ‘A Hearty Thank You!’:

“Thanks so much for presenting Emma Frankland's Hearty at the weekend; we felt really well looked after by you all.

“We were so pleased with the promotion of the show; the engagement of community groups; all the tech, front of house and box office support; and the engagement in the post-show discussion. We're so thrilled to have the support of Worthing Theatres as our local venue and look forward to hopefully working with you more in the future!”

LGBT+ Youth Support Worker Ryan, from Allsorts Youth Project, said:

“A lot of the young people we brought hadn't been to a solo piece before, so it was quite a new experience for them (definitely a good one!). It brought a lot of our young people from different areas together, which was nice, so they got a chance to bond; But they also really enjoyed being in a community space with other LGBT+ people, particularly trans people, which outside of Allsorts, many of them hadn't had before and they said attending the event was worth it even just for that.

“So thank you to you and all the staff at WTM and to Emma for bringing it all together and running the post show talk as well! And just creating a LGBT+ inclusive space for the young people to be themselves and feel comfortable in themselves; it was a really great experience!”

Celebrate Saxon Day at Worthing Museum
Celebrate Saxon Day at Worthing Museum

Celebrate Saxon Day at Worthing Museum

We’re delighted to be hosting Weorod for a Saxon Day on Saturday 25th June at Worthing Museum and Gallery! This event will be completely free for visitors, as part of our mission to make history and education accessible for everyone.

What can we expect?

There will be a range of weapons and armour on display, including shields, seaxes, spears, axes, swords, helmets, chain mail and more. This display will be made up of museum quality replicas based on real finds from the medieval period.

You can also expect timed presentations which will have an educational bias. These presentations will include set pieces and demonstrations, including re-enactments of battles and burials.

The living history display will feature around four to six different activities and crafts being shown in the gallery spaces, which could include anything from bone working to braid weaving, pottery to chain mail manufacture, and leechcraft to leatherwork.

Throughout the living history displays, the team will be on hand to answer questions, explain the processes, and show close-ups of the methods.

The event will run from 10am until 4:30pm.

Who are Weorod?

Weorod are a group of historical re-enactors who are dedicated to shedding light on the Dark Ages by providing living history displays and re-enactments of the Early Medieval period.

They take pride in ensuring their costume and kit accurately represent their chosen time period, which falls within the fifth to seventh centuries (425-680). Where possible, Weorod focus their research on the archaeology of the local area, with most of their replica items being based on finds from Southern Hampshire, West Sussex, Southern Wiltshire, and parts of Surrey.

“We enjoy specialising within our geographical area, and find that at most of our shows our visitors are far more inspired by evidence from their own area than by a more generic approach. It is necessary to bring in items from elsewhere, but this can work really well in terms of enabling visitors to make comparisons in regional fashions and traditions - offering a vibrant and diverse approach to local history.”

Introducing Curfew: a performance based on the reality experienced by local people
Introducing Curfew: a performance based on the reality experienced by local people

Introducing Curfew: a performance based on the reality experienced by local people

What would you do if men had a curfew? Dance through the streets? Sleep in a park? Simply walk home without being afraid?

Calico’s production of Curfew encapsulates the real stories of real people in Worthing, and explores how different society would look in alternate circumstances. While a curfew is not the answer, Calico are exploring the difference this imaginary scenario would make.

Curfew will be performed on Saturday 25 June at 6pm and 8pm at the Pavilion Promenade.

What’s it about?

Curfew blends dance, theatre, film projection and voice recordings, to bring to life the sad, frightening, funny, and hopeful experiences of women, trans and non-binary people in public spaces at night.

Join Calico on a journey across the Worthing promenade, as they create a world where women can feel completely free and safe, even just for one night. A curfew is not the solution, but there is a problem. Join the conversation.


What can I expect?

Curfew is about reclaiming the conversation around sexual assault and harassment. The performance is choreographed to a score of verbatim voice recordings from women, trans and non-binary people to whom Calico Theatre asked the question: ‘what would you do if men had a curfew?’

It stages uplifting, playful and thought-provoking responses.

Curfew both highlights the sad reality of the symbolic curfew invisibly imposed on women, trans and non-binary people and, importantly, celebrates all of the weird and wonderful things we could be doing if gendered violence was not a threat.

Can I get involved?

Following the performances, Calico Theatre will be hosting post-show discussions in the Pavilion Atrium, exploring the themes of the show in an inclusive community space. Join the conversations at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

If you want to offer your thoughts about feelings about a 7pm curfew for men, you can fill in the anonymous form here.

This special Worthing performance was developed with contributions from local organisations Turning Tides and Safe in Sussex. Participants from both groups lent their thoughts as voice recordings to the show, and gave valuable input into the project by sharing their lived experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoTdIuW8fYY

Jitney – In Rehearsals
Jitney – In Rehearsals

Jitney – In Rehearsals

WTM are thrilled to be welcoming the acclaimed Headlong to Worthing this July with their new production of August Wilson's Jitney. Jitney will play at the Connaught Theatre from Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 July, tickets are available here.






The show will run at The Old Vic before touring to Worthing and offering you the opportunity to see the very best in British theatre right in the heart of Worthing.

Set in a cab office in 1970s Pittsburgh Jitney follows the lives of unlicensed taxicab or jitney drivers as they try to navigate their own personal lives and how they are going to save their station and their community. Poetic, emotional and nuanced the show explores the conflict of personalities, ages and experience in an exceptional character driven production.
















Find out more in the video below, as Director Tinuke Craig discusses the production from the rehearsal room at Leeds playhouse in October 2021.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlRGRVur8uY

Jitney is at the Connaught Theatre from Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 July 2022. You can book tickets via the Box Office on 01903 206206 or click here.

Tinuke Craig: from Sussex student to dazzling director of Jitney
Tinuke Craig: from Sussex student to dazzling director of Jitney

Tinuke Craig: from Sussex student to dazzling director of Jitney

As you may have heard, we’re hosting Headlong’s acclaimed production of Jitney next month, and we cannot wait.

Coming to Worthing from the Old Vic, Jitney is a ground-breaking modern classic that explores the fragile bond between eight men as they live, love, and work in a racially-segregated, post-Vietnam America.

Excitingly for all of us here in Worthing, Jitney’s director Tinuke Craig is on the list of famous alumni from our very own University of Sussex. Ahead of her return to the county, we caught up with her lecturer from her university days, Senior Lecturer in Drama and English Dr William McEvoy.

Tinuke Craig in rehearsals 2
Photos by Manual Harlan

Tinuke Craig in rehearsals 3

How does it feel to see such success from one of your previous students at the University of Sussex?

I feel really proud of all the students I have taught at Sussex because we have such a community and form such a close bond on the Drama degrees. Tinu has worked really hard ever since she left Sussex and I’m over the moon at her success.

How do you think her studies at the university have helped to shape the development of her career?

Tinu had achieved a lot even before coming to Sussex, including being a young writer at the Royal Court. Our degree gives students critical skills, a broad range of theatre and performance work to study, and supports them as practitioners. Tinu recently gave a workshop at the university on Shakespeare, and I hope some of her critical acumen was honed during her studies here.

What was Tinuke like to teach?!

She was a highly intelligent, attentive, gracious student, critically probing but always generous. Her peers adored her.

What is it like to know Tinuke is coming back to Sussex as director of such an acclaimed production?

I have followed Tinu’s career since graduation and she has worked at so many great venues and organisations, but this production, which has just been to the Old Vic, is a real high point. I think she’s going to be one of the country’s leading directors. I love the focus in her work on Black playwrights and the way she celebrates Blackness in her career.

What is the significance of this?

She is an inspiration to our students and shows how great a career you can build with talent, energy and hard work.

Tell us a bit about Tinu – can you see her personality reflected in her work, for example?

She is incredibly generous, self-deprecating, kind and thoughtful, a really sensitive, perceptive, glowing intellect combined with such warmth of character. As you can tell, I am a fan. She’s directed classics, contemporary theatre, work from all over the globe: what a CV!

Is there anything else you’d like to add or tell us about?

I have this great memory of Tinu knitting in what seemed like a bored, distracted way in one of our first-year theory seminars and I was about to pull her up for her inattentiveness when she suddenly chimed in with a brilliant observation totally responsive to the intricate debate around her. It was a learning moment for me as a relatively new lecturer about how people listen and learn in different ways.

Tinuke Craig Jitney Director
Photo by Manual Harlan
Fair Cop Unleashed: Q&A with Alfie Moore
Fair Cop Unleashed: Q&A with Alfie Moore

Fair Cop Unleashed: Q&A with Alfie Moore

Cop-turned-comedian Alfie Moore, star of his hit BBC Radio 4 comedy series It's a Fair Cop, is bringing his latest stand-up tour show Fair Cop Unleashed to Worthing.

The show, based on real-life events, invites the audience to relive his thrilling ups and downs of the night a mysterious clown came to town and more than one life ended up in the balance. Alfie concedes: ‘it was the most frightened I have ever been in my police career and at the time no laughing matter’ – but this show certainly is!

The story highlights the constant personal danger of being a police officer but also the outrageously funny things that they experience. We caught up with Alfie ahead of his visit to Worthing to find out all about his upcoming performance.

Alfie Moore Worthing

How are you feeling about your upcoming performance here at Worthing?

I’m a fan of the sea and have never been to Worthing in my life and so I’m very excited.

What can we expect (without giving too much away)?!

I love real-life events and this is the true story of when a mysterious clown appeared in Grimsby leading to some seat of the pants life-changing and life-affirming results.

What do you think is your favourite part of your show?

Difficult to say as the show has different rhythms. It starts off very laid back with lots of audience interaction and this content will vary from room to room. Then as the story kicks in it will slowly build to an exciting finish.

Cop to comedian is quite a change! What brought on this career transition?

Totally unplanned and I guess you’d call it a mid-life crisis. In my 40’s and as the result of ‘a dare’ I ended up performing in a new act stand-up competition. I had no writing or performance background but it just felt very natural from the get go and the dream began.

What do you love about touring?

It’s fabulous seeing different places. I wasn’t very well travelled before I started stand-up but now I’ve taken my shows all over the UK and abroad.

And what do you hate?!

There’s nothing to hate really. Okay sometimes long drives can be tiring but I’ve had proper jobs and they’re quite tiring too and not nearly as much fun. What is it they say ‘if you do a job you love then you never have to work a day in your life’?

How do you prep for your shows?

Once a show is bedded in then the only preparation is the odd tweak. The rest is a little research on the place you’re going to and some travel planning in order to ensure you arrive nice and fresh. An early sound check, relax in the green room and then the traditional half-time snack. Usually mixed nuts, mini-cheddars or the occasional sausage roll – showbiz eh 😊

What do you feel is the highlight of your comedic career?

There’s a few really. Having a successful BBC Radio 4 show makes me feel very proud. In turn that exposure has allowed me to tour which is a joy and was always me goal. It’s also really nice to have my comedy work supported by the policing organisation as a whole. The bosses ask me to get involved with official events and individual officers will always take the trouble to attend tour shows.

What’s next for Alfie Moore?

In the short term Radio 4 has commissioned Series 7 of It’s A Fair Cop which I’m busy writing now and I’ll be performing live versions of at this years iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. I will continue to tour with Fair Cop Unleashed until Spring 2023 when I’ll be launching a brand new show. After that who knows but I’m as keen as ever to keep creating new work and so I’ll be out there somewhere.

Anything else you want to share?

Just to thank the good people of Worthing and beyond who are taking the trouble to support the show. It’s very much appreciated and I’m sure we will have a very fun evening.

Alfie Moore will be at Worthing's Pavilion Atrium on Wednesday 29th June at 7:30pm. You can book your tickets HERE.

 

 

WTM Stories: fantastic feedback for Kintsugi Women
WTM Stories: fantastic feedback for Kintsugi Women

WTM Stories: fantastic feedback for Kintsugi Women

The Kintsugi Women exhibition is the result of a collaboration between local charities and services supporting people experiencing homelessness across West Sussex. Female service users were invited to highlight things they value about themselves, or something difficult they have learned through their experiences.

“Your thoughts, emotions and talents have had a long-lasting effect on me. Thank you for sharing part of yourselves with us all.”

“People experiencing homelessness are broken in so many ways, nobody chooses to be on the streets, especially women. ‘Kintsugi’ is an ancient Japanese craft of fixing broken pottery with extracts of gold.  It is also known as the art of ‘precious scars’…  What breaks us makes us stronger. This exhibition tells of our precious scars.” Jules, project leader

Within its first two weeks on display, Kintsugi Women has received an overwhelming response, with the public praising both the artistic creation of the display and what it stands for.

“This exhibition is totally amazing. It moved me to tears, every single piece is so personal and impactful.”

Kintsugi Women exhibition feedback
Kintsugi Women exhibition feedback
Kintsugi Women exhibition feedback
Kintsugi Women exhibition feedback

Emma Walder, Senior Curator, said: 'We've received a lot of comments about the Kintsugi Women exhibition, many visitors have found it thought provoking and moving. It's so important, as a museum, to offer a creative voice to people who are usually overlooked, and help raise awareness of issues that are so prominent in our society.  The exhibition captures a snapshot of how people, who have experienced homelessness and abuse, really feel.  It's sobering to imagine how many others are in this situation now, or facing it as their imminent reality.'

“More power to the wonderful charities that do what they can to eradicate all UK homelessness, especially amongst women.”

Kintsugi Women is on at Worthing Museum and Gallery until Sunday 25th September during Museum opening times. Entrance is free.

WTM Stories: flowers fit for a Queen
WTM Stories: flowers fit for a Queen

WTM Stories: flowers fit for a Queen

Volunteers and staff at Worthing Theatres and Museum have planted some flora in anticipation of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this week.

Buildings and Facilities Manager Chris Studley-Gray was part of the group’s initiative to create something beautiful for the Jubilee.

The stone troughs either side of the Assembly Hall entrance have been filled with a weeping cherry tree each, surrounded by alternating Fuchsias and Chrysanthemums.

We can’t wait to see how they’ll grow! Thank you to Chris and the rest of the team for creating such a beautiful display.

Assembly Hall weeping cherry tree

Invisible People Worthing: Q&A with Henny Beaumont
Invisible People Worthing: Q&A with Henny Beaumont

Invisible People Worthing: Q&A with Henny Beaumont

How are you feeling about your upcoming exhibition?

I’m really excited and pleased to have the opportunity to show my work for British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD), and Respond UK, a charity providing psychotherapy for people with learning disabilities.

I’m delighted to offer a platform to local artists with learning disabilities, Superstar Arts and Rocket Artists Brighton.

What was the process of the development of your idea for Invisible People? For example, has it been in the works for a while? Has your vision been clear from the start?

The idea for the show was born out of my experience as a parent of young person with Down’s Syndrome, and my work as artist in residence at BILD and Respond UK.

As a parent I am acutely aware of how difficult it is to get people to recognise and value my daughter. People don’t tend to see her for the wonderful, lovely, funny, serious person she is; they see her disability.

It’s hard for people to see the isolation that comes from having a learning disability. Lack of personal independence, lack of friends, lack of real paid jobs.

Just five per cent of adults with learning disabilities are employed. It’s outrageously low. Beth’s college has a 65 per cent rate of employment after college – it shows what can be done.

I’ve often felt my concerns for my daughter are invisible and not taken seriously, and I’ve wanted to do something about it.

One way of doing this is exhibiting Beth’s work. She draws all the time and I love her work; it’s full of colour and joy.

Beth's drawing of an orangutan

Beth's drawing of an orangutan

I want people to see and appreciate my daughter’s difference and her abilities – like any other mum.

From experience I know this is how a lot other parents, relatives, anyone that is close to someone with a learning disability feels.

So I’m showing the work by other artists too with learning disabilities. I want to give them the chance to be seen and appreciated, and be part of a creative community.

I was commissioned by BILD and Respond UK to create a set of images to highlight the trauma experienced by people with learning disabilities and autistic people.

We worked as a group: experts in the legal system, the care system, care commissioning, health, education and people with lived experience. We discussed how people with learning disabilities and Autistic people are affected by trauma. My role as artist in residence was to observe and then illustrate the concepts considered.

In the process of working out my drawings I’d sent the illustrations to the group, creating another layer of thought and dialogue.

Sometimes comments came back like ‘I don’t think blue works’, and at other times it was a detailed analysis of the text and imagery.

Invisible People Worthing

I was drawn to this work on both a professional and personal level. As an artist, I’m interested in the ways in which art can effect change, and as a mother to a young adult with Down’s Syndrome, I have first-hand experience of her trauma and I am acutely aware that systems to help people with learning disabilities must change.

In the seminars there was always someone who told their experience of trauma. These stories had the most impact on my understanding. Some were so painful they were difficult to hear, like the experiences of a man who’d been through a horrific time at the hands of the care system. He’d experienced extreme bullying, loneliness, and total social isolation. Without sensitive care, people with learning disabilities and autistic people are often traumatised by the systems that are set up to help them.

I realised that the exhibition needed to have the same involvement as the discussion groups of people with lived experience. I invited Superstar Arts in Worthing and Rocket Artists from Brighton to collaborate.

We held workshops and created images to print with ceramicist Brigit Connolly. Rocket Artists and Superstar Arts were invited to submit work for prints. I wanted the exhibition to mean something to local people and by involving local groups I hope to bring the community together.

Invisible People Hackney projection

In terms of representing how marginalised groups experience trauma, what is your overarching goal for the perception of this exhibition?

I would like sensitivity shown to people with learning disabilities and an understanding that some people behave in unexpected ways that might be due to trauma. We need to have compassion and understanding.

What impact has your personal experience with trauma had on the production of this exhibition?

I know what it is like to be traumatised by procedures that are not fully understood and how it can make you behave erratically.

My daughter was in the ICU for six weeks. It was a very scary time for all her family and terrifying for Beth because of her limited understanding of what was going on. It required a huge amount of patience love and constant communication to get through it.

What does the Invisible People exhibition mean to you on both a personal and professional level?

It’s very emotional for all the reasons I have described. I’m really grateful to Worthing Museum and Gallery who have been so open and enthusiastic about supporting this project. It makes me feel positive about the future. I’m very excited to share the work and hope everyone will enjoy it. I asked my daughter how she felt and she said: ‘Maybe people might like my work. That makes me happy.’

I think that’s probably about right for me too.

Invisible People Worthing

Kintsugi Women Exhibition
Kintsugi Women Exhibition

Kintsugi Women Exhibition

Kintsugi: the Japanese art of repairing ceramics and pottery with a special lacquer mixed with gold. This tradition method of fixing broken things is built on the idea of embracing flaws and imperfections. In doing so, you can create something stronger and more beautiful than before. Each break and repair is entirely unique.

Using this as a metaphor for the emotional healing we go through teaches us an important lesson; in the process of repairing things, we create something more beautiful and resilient. Kintsugi treats damage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to hide.

The Kintsugi Women exhibition is the result of a collaboration between local charities and services supporting people experiencing homelessness across West Sussex. Female service users were invited to highlight things they value about themselves, or something difficult they have learned through their experiences.

“People experiencing homelessness are broken in so many ways, nobody chooses to be on the streets, especially women. ‘Kintsugi’ is an ancient Japanese craft of fixing broken pottery with extracts of gold.  It is also known as the art of ‘precious scars’…  What breaks us makes us stronger. This exhibition tells of our precious scars.” Jules, project leader

Their experiences and expressions have been captured in a chosen art form with gold running through their creations to symbolise the philosophy of kintsugi. Much like the physical act of repairing ceramics with gold lacquer to highlight their uniqueness and beauty, these women’s creations have been embellished with gold to symbolise their newfound strength and individuality as a result of their experiences.

Sam Otway from Safe in Sussex, a charity offering support for victims of domestic abuse in the county, said: “The main aim is to try and raise some awareness of the services that both of our respective charities provide: Safe in Sussex as a domestic abuse charity providing refuge and education, and Turning Tides as a homelessness charity. They are very much interlinked as all the clients that come into our refuge are homeless, and many of Turning Tides clients will have experienced or been exposed to domestic abuse at some point in their lives, so we are very much a partnership.

“We also want stakeholders and decision makers to see what some of these women endure, and for visitors to understand the reality of homelessness and domestic abuse in the local area.

“There are so many significant pieces and so many stories but for me the house "From Hell House to Happy Home" really showcases how someone can have a home yet still be homeless.  This was created by an amazing mother and daughter duo who suffered years of the most horrific abuse at the hands of their husband/father in their own 'home'.  Housing placed them into a B&B where they shared a bed for 3 months after they had bravely escaped.  They then came to us, and we found them a safe place to stay where they had their own bedrooms and were able to begin their journey of trauma recovery.  They have shown amazing courage and strength through fixing themselves back together and discovering themselves and their unique qualities for the first time - truly amazing women!”

Kintsugi Women is on at Worthing Museum and Gallery until Sunday 25th September during Museum opening times. Entrance is free.

Showstopper: the Olivier award-winning musical coming to Worthing!
Showstopper: the Olivier award-winning musical coming to Worthing!

Showstopper: the Olivier award-winning musical coming to Worthing!

An evening of spontaneous musical comedy at its absolutely finest is heading to Worthing direct from the West End.

With 12 years as an Edinburgh Fringe must-see phenomenon, a BBC Radio 4 series, a critically acclaimed West End run, and an Olivier Award to their name, the Showstoppers have been delighting audiences all over with their ingenious blend of comedy, musical theatre, and improvisation.

No two performances are ever the same, due to the Showstopper’s unique creation of a new musical comedy at each show. Audience suggestions are transformed on the spot into an all-singing, all-dancing production. Whether you fancy seeing Mamma Mia on the moon or Sweeney Todd under the sea, you suggest it and the Showstoppers will create it!

Ahead of their performance at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre, we spoke to the team to find out exactly how their improvised musical works, what we can expect, and what their favourite musicals are!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLya07C6zMM

★★★★★ ‘So polished, it defies belief.’ Daily Telegraph
★★★★ ‘If this is what improv can do, you wonder why anyone bothers writing anything down.’ The Times
★★★★★ ‘Achingly funny… Worth seeing again and again.’ Time Out Critics’ Choice

Showstopper! - The Improvised Musical is being performed at the Pavilion Theatre on Friday 10 June 2022. Tickets are available from £16.50.

How WTM are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
How WTM are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

How WTM are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, and we’ve got a number of things lined up for celebrating the Queen's Jubilee. While the official celebrations will take place across the long weekend of 2-5 June, WTM have organised events across all their venues spanning the course of a month.

Firstly, we’ve got our double film screening of Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts

When is it? Monday 23 May 2022 at 11:00am and 6:15pm

Where is it? Connaught Cinema

How much is it? Tickets are from £4

What can we expect? This documentary chronicles the reign of the Queen with extraordinary archival footage. From the director of Notting Hill and The Duke comes a nostalgic, uplifting, and modern chronicle of the extraordinary 70-year reign of Her Majesty the Queen, the longest-living and longest-reigning British monarch, and longest-serving female head of state in history.

Next up is our Family Workshop: Jubilee Crowns

WTM Crown making workshop

When is it? Friday 3rd June 2022 at 10:30am

Where is it? Worthing Museum and Gallery

How much is it? Tickets are from £7.50

What can we expect? On the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, you have the chance to join WTM’s creative workshop making royal jubilee crowns to join in with the celebrations! All glittering materials are provided and there will be expert help on hand to create spectacular crowns fit for young kings and queens!

For the lovers of classic film, we’re showing the favourite film of the Queen herself: Flash Gordon

When is it? Friday 3rd June 2022 at 8:30pm

Where is it? Connaught Cinema

How much is it? Tickets from £5

What can we expect? American footballer Flash Gordon is thrust into the journey of a lifetime: joined with Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov, the three earthbound space travellers will soon become the first humans to encounter alien life, and try to stop the tyrannical alien warlord Emperor Ming the Merciless from destroying the Earth.

Up next, our much-anticipated performance of The Queen’s Knickers

When is it? Sunday 26th June 2022 at 11:00am and 2:00pm

Where is it? Pavilion Theatre

How much is it? Tickets from £12

What can we expect? This new musical adaptation of the children’s book is guaranteed to provide fresh fun for all the family. It’s a busy year for the Queen – she has lots of important events to attend. But disaster has struck the palace as Her Majesty’s knickers have been nicked – call the royal guard! Meanwhile, a little girl is wondering what knickers Her Majesty will choose to wear on a school visit! Will they be her ‘at home’ knickers – adorned with corgis – or her ‘garden party’ knickers, or perhaps her woolly Balmoral ones…? This production promises a regal children’s musical full of songs, silliness and a corgi or two!

Finally, we have workshop for lovers of arts and crafts: Regal Ribbons

When is it? Sunday 3rd July at 11:00am

Where is it? Worthing Museum and Gallery

How much is it? From £45

What can we expect? Join us for some ribbon folding fun to create a sculptural ribbon cockade, rosette or origami trim that will take your outfit from the ordinary to extraordinary. All materials will be provided. This session is suitable for all abilities, only simple hand stitching will be required. The workshop is taught by our West Sussex milliner, Isabella Josie.

 

Jitney: Q&A with Director Tinuke Craig
Jitney: Q&A with Director Tinuke Craig

Jitney: Q&A with Director Tinuke Craig

Tinuke Craig’s acclaimed production of August Wilson’s Jitney is coming to Worthing this summer, following a month-long run at The Old Vic.

A Headlong, Leeds Playhouse and The Old Vic co-production, this show comes from an exceptional degree of talent. It will open at London’s historic Old Vic before a regional tour to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre on Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 July 2022.

Jitney is a ground-breaking modern classic from August Wilson, one of America’s greatest writers. It explores the fragile bond between eight men as they live, love and work in a racially segregated, post-Vietnam America. Their stories are brought to the stage by much-lauded Director, Tinuke Craig, whose past work includes The Colour Purple, Vassa, I Call My Brothers and even Cinderella, the pantomime at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

WTM is pleased to bring such commended work to the local Worthing community, presenting the best of London’s theatre to West Sussex.

"This remarkable play, the first written of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, hasn’t been seen in London for over 20 years but remains as relevant as ever. It is a play I’ve loved for many years which explores the themes of love, loss and community through the lens of the Black experience. It’s a dream come true to be able to direct it." - Director Tinuke Craig

Joining the cast is Nnabiko Ejimofor as Shealy, Solomon Israel as Youngblood, Dayo Koleosho as Philmore and Sule Rimi as Turbo. They join the previously announced Geoff Aymer as Doub, Leanne Henlon as Rena, Wil Johnson as Becker, Leemore Marrett Jr. as Booster, and Tony Marshall as Fielding. Lindon Alexander, Lincoln Conway, Blair Gyabaah and Yolanda Ovide are the understudies.

August Wilson's Jitney

Tinuke Craig, currently in rehearsals for the performance at Leeds Playhouse, spoke about the challenges and joys of sharing the award-winning classic with modern audiences.

Tell us a bit about the themes of the play

Ultimately, it’s a love story about community and the strengths a community can have – particularly if it’s marginalised; how you are stronger together and how you can strive to change your circumstances with help from other people. People power, I guess. ‘It’s also about misconnections, particularly between a father and son. A big part of the pattern of the show is things almost working out but not quite making it. This leads to very vulnerable moments between men – sadly still a rarity on the stage. It feels quite exciting to see their inner sanctum – the jitney office – where they can be themselves and express themselves. This is especially important when the outside world is so harsh; where they have all the traits of poverty and racism keeping them in a position from which they can’t ascend.

There’s also a sense of impending doom that’s going to get them eventually, but they’re safe as long as they stick together.

UK theatregoers might not be as familiar with August Wilson as their US counterparts. Can you tell us a bit about him and his significance as one of America’s most important playwrights?

He’s one of the great American dramatists, up there with Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. He has a theatre named after him on Broadway and all his plays won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, so he’s a huge deal.

One of the things he did that was most impressive was that he wrote ten plays over the course of his career called The Pittsburgh Cycle, of which Jitney is one. Each of the plays is set in a different decade in the same area, famously including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Fences. Jitney is set in the 70s but, interestingly, it was the first one he wrote because he didn’t write them in order.

What’s exciting about the cycle is that each play works beautifully on its own, but they also do this amazing thing where they call and respond to each other. So, you get characters in Jitney who later turn up in Two Trains Running. It’s a whole rich world – a tapestry – built by a masterful playwright. He’s a documentarian of the black experience in America in that way.

He’s an exciting, warm writer, full of music, full of rhythm and poetry – a very exciting voice.

August Wilson's Jitney

Why aren’t we as aware of his work as we should be?

Black artists often fall into a place where they get marginalised and treated as niche or ‘special interest’. He fell victim to that, as a lot of black artists did at the time he was writing. His work is also not on the curriculum here, we don’t have the same access to the work, so it’s not put on very much – and so the cycle continues. It wouldn’t happen with someone like Miller. ‘But it feels like a sea-change is happening, that more Wilson productions making it to the stage. It feels like there may be a resurgence coming, and that is very exciting.’

Jitney is firmly anchored in the 1970s. How is it relevant in 2021?

It’s a play about gentrification; about a place that historically belongs to a marginalised community that’s being taken over by a more affluent community. The people who originally lived there are being displaced, which, sadly, still feels quite relevant.

There’s also something interesting about spending time with men – especially black men – in a piece that isn’t specifically about the black experience, which seems important at the moment when we’re considering how we consume media around blackness.

August Wilson's Jitney

How have you tackled recreating the 1970s without it becoming a pastiche?

It’s partly about rooting it firmly in its location. It’s a workplace drama so we can root them in activity and practice and behaviour – the truth of that transcends what everyone is wearing. We’ve created a world that has the trappings of the Seventies in the colour palette and the shape and the line, but it’s not necessarily a wholesale Seventies that’s been lovingly created on stage.

The costumes are really practical and subtle. We’re not seeing these guys on a night out, so we’re not going full Soul Train. It’s about what’s practical for them to do their work and what would have been available to them at the time.

You also have to take account of how old everyone is. If someone is in their sixties, they might dress like someone more from the Fifties. You also have to think about how old the office is. If it’s been there for 18 years, it’s not going to look like a Seventies’ workplace.

If you create a world that feels truthful, it shouldn’t feel too pastiche.

You have eight men and one woman in the cast. How have you ensured that the female character has equal weight and isn’t there just as a foil for the men?

It’s been important to me to think about the representation of women in plays and on stage and, particularly, about black women – and how rare that is, for a start.

This play is, in effect, about men. For me, when our female character comes on stage we really have to understand what her relationship is to the space. Does she own the space? Does she feel comfortable in it? If not, how can we make that feel about the story and not the actor.

We spent as much time with Leanne (Leanne Henlon, who plays Rena) as we spent with everybody talking about their character. When we did our character work, we did it all together. Everyone was given equal weighting regardless of the size of their character.

We also made a point to openly acknowledge the fact that there’s only one woman in the cast, which is a shame – not that I’m giving notes to August Wilson! Lots of women are mentioned but, like a great many plays of the time, it’s about men and one woman who just turns up. For me, it became about ensuring her character was whole and as real, multidimensional and multi-faceted as possible, so she didn’t feel two-dimensional when set against all these very complicated men we spend most of the time with.

It also felt important to me to have an intimacy advisor around. The men in this particular company are delightful and lovely but, just in terms of best practice, when you have a lone woman in a cast it feels really important to have someone watch over our work.

If you try to do a fight scene without a fight coordinator, it won’t be as good. And it’s the same with an intimacy director – they help to make the scene better and more believable.

 

What conversations do you hope the play will prompt?

There are points in the show where characters have an argument and it’s not entirely clear who you ought to side with. It will be interesting to hear audiences grapple with that afterwards. Are you Team Becker or Team Booster; are you Team Youngblood or Team Rena?

The wonderful thing about Wilson’s writing is that it’s never that simple. You can see how each of them has arrived at the conclusions they have. You’re not sure who’s right or who’s wrong. That sort of stuff will ignite some conversations afterwards.

There’s also the wider aspect of thinking about the history of the black experience in America. And, even though it’s very specifically set in America, it’s as relevant to people here in the UK. These things echo all over the world.

Jitney is at the Connaught Theatre Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 July 2022. Click here to book your tickets. 

Hearty: Q&A with Emma Frankland
Hearty: Q&A with Emma Frankland

Hearty: Q&A with Emma Frankland

Award-winning live performance and theatre artist Emma Frankland is returning to her homeland of West Sussex with her performance of Hearty.

Hearty is the fifth and final solo show in Emma’s None of Us is Yet a Robot project, which is a series of performances she has created in response to her gender transition and the politics surrounding transgender identity over the past seven years.

In this show, Emma tackles the ongoing media fascination with transgender lives, and interrogates the controversial bio-technology of HRT.

This politically-charged recital sees Emma bearing wings of sharp knives and shooting fireballs into the air, while weaving stories of trans ancestry through her performance. Connecting the cycles of the fetishisation, violence, and erasure that transgender people have experienced for centuries, Hearty is raw, messy, and authentic.

“[Hearty is] a ferocious cry for the safety of trans women. Brands don’t lead revolutions, people like Emma Frankland do.” The Guardian

How has your experience as a transwoman helped to shape the dynamic of Hearty?

It’s quite hard to answer because it’s not really possible to separate Hearty from my identity as a transwoman. Initially the project came about from a desire to reach out and connect with cisgender women who also use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and that was the impetus; a way of bridging the gap between transwomen and ciswomen where there can sometimes be animosity.

I think as I got deeper into the project, I realised that what I was really interested in was the stories of other transgender people around the world who I was meeting with and connecting with, and so the focus became about all of our stories and the ways in which they need to be archived.

Tell us about your previous use of transformative materials to create your visual imagery. Was this largely for the metaphor, or was there more to it?

In a previous show I used salt and clay and things, and the reasons for those materials was that they come from the landscape where I’m from, from Cornwall. It feels really important that the work I make is really rooted in the place that I’m from, and I think that for Hearty, the material that is really used the most is fire, which obviously is a very universal thing that lots of people have connections to.

How has the reception been to Hearty so far, and how has this impacted each performance in the tour?

The reception has been amazing. Hearty has been critically acclaimed as it’s toured around and we’ve always had really amazing responses from both the trans community that experience it and also from cisgender people who have come and seen it.

I think that it’s interesting how it’s maybe changed from before COVID and post-COVID; Hearty is set in an apocalyptic world and I think that people are able to connect to that idea of ‘there’s an apocalypse, there’s a change and a threat to our ways of life’ more now than previously.

Your work has had an excitingly significant impact on society. What does this experience mean for you both personally and professionally?

I’m very flattered that you think my work has had a significant impact on society. I think it’s very important for me personally that the art I make has an impact. I guess I sometimes frame it as ‘what is the duty of care of an artist?’ I like the idea that we have a responsibility, and maybe that responsibility of an artist is to tell the truth, to speak about our experience as we experience it, and so through being very personal we can hopefully find ways to connect with other people.

I’ve felt that it’s been my responsibility as a trans person – going through these perhaps difficult times in the UK lately – to speak honestly and openly about that. Maybe that’s where the impact comes from. I think as well it’s important for trans people to see ourselves reflected on stage and in ways that we are not used to. I think that that’s something that is particularly significant about the work I make; it’s very unapologetic and bold and that’s not necessarily a sphere that trans people get to be framed in.

What does it mean to you to be able to perform Hearty in your local area?

It’s really amazing to be performing in my local area. I’m excited to see friendly faces in the crowd but also to be able to connect with more trans people and with more people in West Sussex. It feels like a really beautiful way to start my engagement with Worthing Theatres.

Hearty is on at the Pavilion Theatre on Saturday 21 May 2022 at 8:00pm. Tickets are on sale from £13.50, which you can purchase here.

WTM Youth Ambassador Trustee
WTM Youth Ambassador Trustee

WTM Youth Ambassador Trustee

We are thrilled to be recruiting a Youth Ambassador Trustee to join our Board of Trustees. You’ll be joining an engaged and experienced Board of Trustees, and will be asked to share your skills, perspective and experience in order to support the charitable aims of the business. 

Find our more about the role and see the full Youth Ambassador Trustee role an information pack here






Worthing Theatres and Museum is a unique arts and heritage charity with a large portfolio of distinct venues. WTM is an ambitious organisation that presents a vibrant, diverse and entertaining programme of performances, (theatre, contemporary circus, dance, comedy, music, family theatre, talks) events, film, exhibitions and workshops. We manage a museum collection of national significance (costume, archaeology, fine art, toys), present an annual outdoor summer festival and collaborate with leading UK producing and touring companies. We engage with our local communities through a range of projects, partnerships and venue hires, using art and culture to create opportunities for the benefit of the wider community.






We are seeking candidates who share an enthusiasm for and commitment to bringing culture to all parts of the Worthing community. An ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge and understanding of Worthing and the lives and experiences of the young people in our  community, which will be essential in carrying out this role effectively.

The successful candidate will have a strong awareness of current issues and debates around equality, diversity and inclusion, particularly in relation to young people. We are looking for someone who is confident in voicing ideas and opinions and not afraid to put new ideas forward.

The Youth Ambassador trustee will be key in setting up a youth advisory board (made up of young people aged 16-29 from the Worthing community), which they will then chair, as well as being a trustee on the main charity board. The youth advisory board will challenge WTM to ensure that we embody our vision and achieve our aim to: 

“Provide aspirational opportunities for young people ensuring the creative voices of the future.”








Youth Ambassador Trustee role and information pack

The HR team will be accepting applications on behalf of the Board, to apply please send a covering letter outlining why you are interested along with a CV to: hradmin@wtm.uk

Deadline to apply: Sunday 8th May 2022

If you have any questions or want to know more about the role please email HR and your queries will be passed to the Board.

WMCS present Guys and Dolls in President Ruth Roberts’ Platinum Jubilee Year
WMCS present Guys and Dolls in President Ruth Roberts’ Platinum Jubilee Year

WMCS present Guys and Dolls in President Ruth Roberts’ Platinum Jubilee Year

Worthing Musical Comedy Society is a voluntary group that sets out to provide and promote affordable quality musical entertainment for the enjoyment and education of the general public and fulfilment of our members. WMCS was formed in 1935 and has been soldiering on ever since. Their latest musical performance, Guys and Dolls, will be at the Connaught Theatre from Tuesday 3 May 2022 till Saturday 7 May 2022 and is set to be a real showstopper!

When making plans to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, Worthing Musical Comedy Society President, Ruth Roberts, realised that it was also 70 years since she first set foot on the Worthing Musical Comedy Stage.  Board member and TV personality, Amy Hart, went to meet with Ruth and ask her to talk about her history with the society and musical theatre.

“As I sit in the lounge of WMCS president Ruth Roberts, looking at the walls adorned with family photographs, it’s amazing to think that Am Dram started it all. Ruth, 88, met her husband Roy when she was invited to join WMCS for their 1952 production of Sunny and celebrates her own Diamond Jubilee this year (I’ve always called her our Queen!) “I was terribly shy at the time” she recalls “and I was invited to do two solos in the show. I didn’t want to do it, but I did, which started a 70 year journey with the society.”

Since Ruth joined WMCS at the age of 18, things have changed a lot. “Rehearsals were every Monday and Friday and you never missed one, whether you were needed or not. Even when the local press, hospital and mayor's ball were on, you went to rehearsals, sped home, got changed and arrived late! It was a real hobby, everyone was there because they loved both performing and also the social side of things.”

WMCS has often been referred to as a family, back in the early days this was even more correct! “It really was one big family made of lots of local families. So many couples met at the society and went on to have children who would then appear in shows.” This is how it has been for the formidable Roberts family with both Ruth and Roy playing a multitude of parts both opposite each other (beginning with Mrs Molloy and Cornelius Hackle in Hello Dolly) as well as serving on the board, Roy as chairman and Ruth was wardrobe mistress for a number of years before they both became President. Later their children Andrew and Lisa plus daughter in law Tandy became active members of the society playing lead roles, serving on the committee, being chairman and also choreographing and directing. All 5 grandchildren have also been involved in the society!

The biggest contribution to the society the family have made was probably Roy, along with late society stalwart Andrew Taylor, securing their our very own premises. “We used to rehearse all over the place-basically wherever would have us. Church halls, leisure centres, anywhere, including in a function room nearby until we happened to book 42nd Street around the time they installed a new floor and they said we couldn’t tap on it! Roy started looking for premises shortly after that. When we secured “2a The Drive” as our new home, we were working towards our production of Barnum so, as the song goes, members of the public sponsored individual bricks “one brick at a time” so we could get the place finished!”

Some of the “Kodak moments” of the last 70 years include the BBC coming to film a documentary about the society’s production of “Charlie Girl” “We were all quite worried because we wouldn’t have any control over the edit but the programme was brilliant and was a fantastic experience.” Dancing the original Agnes De Mille choreography when the society performed Oklahoma for the first time. Doing two shows at “The Plaza” included 1967’s record breaking production of Camelot being seen by 10,050 people and taking a whopping, wait for it, £3,800!! “The only downside” says Ruth “was that the Plaza had no box office, so we had to man that ourselves as well as perform!”

With such a well equipped team now, self sufficiency is a thing of the past but Ruth remembers it well. “We altered our own costumes, did our own make up. We would cycle down to the theatre with our costumes over the handlebars as very few people had cars! Back then everyone got stuck in and helped. At one stage the society was running low on funds so every member was given £1 to make money with. People held coffee mornings, jumble sales and the society lived to see another day!”

Amateur theatre has changed a lot over the last 70 years, although the WMCS standards are much higher now, with a variety of different production teams “We used to have the same Director, although he was called a producer, and choreographer for many, many years, so you could predict who would probably be cast each time.” Some of the old customs have changed “whether or not we got a principal role, we would all do every show no matter how much chorus work there was available because we loved it! Not many people went off to university in those days so we never lost people at 18. Most of our reviews said there were too many people on stage!”

When there were very limited television options, local theatre was the hottest ticket in town. Ruth recalls “Tickets were so sought after, each member was limited to 4 tickets for the closing night of the run. When public booking opened people would queue down the stairs at the Pier to get the best seats.” Competition was a big factor back then though. Currently Worthing has two active societies, but this used to be a whopping 7 groups all producing two productions a year. “It was sad because it split the talent, split the audiences and everything was more competitive. More thought had to go in to show selection and it was all very top secret so someone else didn’t steal your idea!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ0Ej3cZ7r4

Ruth sums up the changes in her 70 years as “years ago, aside from the performing side, WMCS really was a social event, whereas now it has to be run like a business with such large sums of money involved [WMCS current budgets average at 70k], plus the fact there are so many other things for people to take part in!”

We are so lucky to have Ruth as she really is The Queen of WMCS!

As a postscript it appears that things go round in full circles, the dance teacher who trained Ruth leading to her first appearance with WMCS was Wendy Merson whose daughter, Mandy Chapman is now directing and choreographing their latest production of Guys and Dolls.

WMCS: Guys and Dolls is at the Connaught Theatre from Tuesday 3 May - Saturday 7 May. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/wmcs-guys-and-dolls or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Q&A with Artist Stephanie Smart, creator of The Regency Wardrobe
Q&A with Artist Stephanie Smart, creator of The Regency Wardrobe

Q&A with Artist Stephanie Smart, creator of The Regency Wardrobe

At the end of 2019, Artist Stephanie Smart began a 15 month period as Artist-in-residence at The Regency Town House, Brighton & Hove. There, with the help of town house volunteers, she began to develop The Regency Wardrobe collection.

The Regency Wardrobe is centred around 11 life-sized outfits, complemented by 12 accessories, four wall-hangings and a jewellery box. Each garment produced is a work of paper textiles, created using only paper and thread; inspired by period and place, history and story. 

The Regency Wardrobe Exhibition is on display from Sat 16 Apr - Sun 07 Aug 2022 within Worthing Museum. Read on to find out where the inspiration came from that created this fascinatingly intricate exhibition.   

Fading Glory at Firle Place

What led you to become an artist? 

I’ve just never been anything else. 

Where did your love for using paper as a medium for garment construction come from?

I first saw a paper kaftan that had been made for a Sultan, displayed in a museum in Istanbul. It was covered in Koranic script and geometry. It was very beautiful but had been made for him to wear, under armour, into battle, to remind him of his spiritual duty. I was fascinated by the juxtapositions implied by this. That is, that a fragile medium like paper might be worn over a fragile human body, under metal, on a battlefield. I was also interested in the idea that one might wear something normally ephemeral and internal, such as one’s spiritual faith, on the surface of ones clothes for others to see and read. 

I’d just finished a postgraduate degree in cosmology and philosophy. I’m interested in the relationship between the microcosm of the human body and mind and the macrocosm that is the world. I’m interested in how these two relate. I started wondering what it would be like if more of our internal lives - our life stories, memories, thoughts - were written on the surface of our clothes. The shape of the kaftan also seemed to me reminiscent of a papery hospital gown, of the sort that we wear when our bodies are at their most vulnerable. 

I had, up until that point been a glass artist, so I was used to working with fragility and translucency. At the time I didn’t have a studio space suitable for glass work so I started playing with paper at home and found that it has these same two characteristics. As is also true of glass, however, paper demonstrates unexpected strength if you work with it, rather than against it. And it has the capacity to be dense, opaque, so it has the ability to both reveal and conceal. Paper is a more readily available canvas than glass, it is easy to decorate. I like to draw and write and can do both of these with immediacy on its surface. 

Paper allows me to easily collage. I have begun to see human beings as layered, collated, collaged works of art and I try to reflect this through making paper garments of a sort that a body might just have stepped out of.

Eating Bees - fan

What was the inspiration for this exhibition? 

It was a residency in London that allowed me to first properly experiment with producing flat garments. However, it was my first 3-dimensional collection that saw me tying in with a local historical venue. Whilst artist in residence there I began also linking (via clothes once worn) with the real life stories of actual people. A visitor to the exhibition of that work suggested I might tie a project in with The Regency Town House, Hove. In the end I became artist in residence there and began to learn about the period. I worked with a number of the Town House’s team of volunteers, getting their help making elements of the final pieces and with the research. I approached Worthing Museum in order to see real garments from the Regency era. I then approached the Royal Pavilion and was granted special access to photograph some of the building’s internal decorative elements; these would eventually feature in the decoration on some of the garments. I went on to carry out extensive research into Regency era fashion and the national and social history of the time. With help I found details of real people from the period who I could link certain pieces to, the research venues increased in number as did the people involved, the project just grew and grew. 

As well as being aesthetically stunning and intricate, is there a deeper meaning to your work that you’re aiming to express in this exhibition?

My ambition for every piece I make is that it be aesthetically beautiful, intellectually stimulating and technically ambitious. I believe in the art of looking, really looking at the world, until one is almost looking through it. I believe in the power of beauty to help raise the soul. I believe in the benefits to the human mind of intrigue and learning. I also believe in pushing the limits of materials, to see what they can do and what that can tell us.

Eating Bees - reticule

Do you have a favourite garment within the collection?

I was pleased in the end with the two military uniforms. One is on a shorter more squat, mannequin, the other on a taller thinner form. I have no training in fashion or pattern cutting. I don’t know how to make a garment that anyone can actually wear. I see each garment as a sculpture and work on it accordingly. I make visits to see actual garments from the historical period I’m interested in but the material process of making any single piece is more about staring at images in the form of drawings or photographs, then working out how to reproduce the general shape of that garment by eye, whilst at the same time adapting it according to my own design. In this case I tried to make the naval jacket first, it can now be seen at the Royal Pavilion, but for ages I couldn’t get to grips with the shapes involved in its construction. At that stage I only had the shorter mannequin available. Finally I realised that it was the length of the lines of the real Regency frockcoat in the image before me that were sending me astray. In the photo it was being displayed on a taller, thinner mannequin and the proportions were different. So I got a tall, slim form and immediately the construction made sense and the jacket I was making just worked. The smaller mannequin is now beneath the red jacket on show at Worthing Museum. It is inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte and his actual body shape tied in with it nicely. But it’s the finishes I’m particularly pleased with, on the Napoleon inspired jacket the gold trim is made from greaseproof paper and embroidery thread, for example. Also I love the way the research came together and the links I was able to make to real male figures from the time.

On average, how long did each piece take to create?

Up until the end of last year I found that question impossible to answer. All I knew was that I had produced eleven mannequins, 12 accessories, 4 wall-hangings and a jewellery box in (a very concentrated) 2 and a half years, but I had had nearly all of these pieces in my mind from the start and had been working on different stages of all of them across that period. Last November the Royal Pavilion commissioned an extra piece, a Court dress. It is certainly the grandest piece in The Regency Wardrobe collection but every piece is time consuming in its own way. I began making that dress in mid November 2021 and finished it the day before I delivered in at the end of February 2022. So now I can say that the informal answer to the question of timing is that every piece will always take every moment I have available to me, because I have a tendency to keep on adding extra layers of detail. Officially I made that particular Court dress in 3.5 months. But I did have help from my volunteer team, they produced 90 platinum coloured stars for example, each one hand-made from the rolled paper technique called quilling. Without their help, if you include the research and the documenting of that research both of which are integral to what I do, then I believe this piece alone would have taken 5 months to produce.

Columbidae - shoe 1900

Was there any part in the creation process of each garment that was particularly challenging to produce?

Absolutely every piece has gone through various stages of not working. Every piece has presented brand new challenges and given me new things to figure out. Having never made the exact piece I am working on before I am learning and developing new ideas and methods every time. Of course there are certain working practices I can regularly adapt but trying to mimic the look of a new combination of design and decorative elements from paper, of a sort that would normally be produced in fabric, means that every time, to a large degree, I am making it up as I go along.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing The Regency Wardrobe?

I hope they will have been visually uplifted, intellectually intrigued and materially challenged.

The Regency Wardrobe Exhibition is open to the public at Worthing Museum from Sat 16 Apr - Sun 7 Aug 2022 and is FREE for visitors to come and see. For more information click here.

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone answer all about their new show Act Two
Ian Waite and Vincent Simone answer all about their new show Act Two

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone answer all about their new show Act Two

Ballroom Boys Duo Ian Waite and Vincent Simone return for their new show - Act Two

With beautiful costumes, gorgeous lighting and world class routines; including the Viennese Waltz, the Foxtrot, the Rhumba… and of course… another incredible Argentine Tango routine by the master! The boys will be joined by their stunning dance partners and a world class singer.

For an evening filled with glitz and glamour, Ian Waite and Vincent Simone....Act Two will be coming to the Pavilion Theatre on Thursday 9 June at 7:30pm. Read the following interview with former Strictly Come Dancing's professional dancers where they discuss their brilliant new show. 

What can fans expect to see in your show?
Ian: A bit of everything really. Hollywood classics, Broadway musicals, a lot of hot Latin numbers.
Vincent: Passionate Argentine Tangos.
Ian: Definitely your Argentine Tangos!
Vincent: Yes, and an amazing singer with a voice of an angel. Plus, we have loads of comedy. You’re the biggest dancer on the planet and I’m the smallest. 5ft 2” plus VAT!

What do you love about doing this show together?
Vincent: Everything! We love working together. Everything, we are just a perfect match.
Ian: Vince is very creative, easy going, his choreography is on point. I just come along for the ride really!
Vincent: He presses play!
Ian: I press play a lot! (Laughing)

How did the touring partnership come about?
Ian: It was my idea.
Vincent: Yes.
Ian: And I thought of the name The Ballroom Boys. When I called Vincent he was in Spain, on holiday I think. I said what do you think about doing a tour and he really liked the idea, the concept was great and we would be the first Strictly all boys couple, haha. Yeah, it’s gone on from then.
Vincent: I jumped at the chance because it was a time when I had finished touring with Flavia and she wanted to have a break and this beautiful man came along and he rescued me. I was like a lost puppy!

How does Act Two differ from Act One?
Ian: I think we just put it on steroids, you know. We just kind of tried to make it bigger and better. More stairs, more curtains, more lights, more girls.
Vincent: More women!
Ian: Haha, more women! Yeah, just even more variety actually in this one, we have three comedy dances as well, don’t we?
Vincent: Yes, we do.

How far into the tour were you before lockdown stopped you in your tracks?
Vincent: We were teching at the theatre in Worcester.
Ian: We did our dress run and then we were closed down. We were about to do the show, ready to do the show, we had done our dress run and 544 days later we opened!!
Vincent: Yes, finally.

How easy has it been returning to live performance after lockdown? Did you have to spend a bit of time re-rehearsing the show or did you just go straight back into live performances in theatres?
Vincent: I didn’t think it was going to be this easy, but I felt almost like we never left. The day I got here, back to London from Spain, we started rehearsing and literally within an hour when we had a little break, I left the training room and it was so surreal. It’s like I never left.
Ian: You were still dancing in Spain quite a lot.
Vincent: I did dance a lot in Spain. I managed to dance and practise almost every day.

What do you love and dislike about touring?
Vincent: Our favourite part of touring is to see new places, new audiences, you never know what to expect. You have roughly the same reactions, but sometimes, especially when you go to places like
up North or to Scotland or Ireland, we get more of an explosion, a buzz from the audience.

How big a part has Strictly played in your popularity with live audiences?

Ian: I think it is one of the main factors really because they know us as characters from Strictly and they’ve continually supported us all our career. We have had tremendous support and there is a hunger for old-school Strictly, old-school classics. People love the Ballroom dancing, people love to go back in time and that’s what we try and do with our shows.

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone....Act Two is at the Pavilion Theatre on Thursday 9 June at 7:30pm. Book tickets now at wtm.uk/events/ian-waite-and-vincent-simone-act-two or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

A Guest Blog From Jez Rose: Creating Extraordinary Futures
A Guest Blog From Jez Rose: Creating Extraordinary Futures

A Guest Blog From Jez Rose: Creating Extraordinary Futures

Coming to WTM is Jez Rose with his new show Jez Rose - Bolder, Braver, Stronger. In his highly engaging live lecture, Jez Rose provides a fascinating insight into human behaviour and why we do what we do, helping to see change as a natural opportunity to adapt and evolve. 

He'll be at the Pavilion Theatre Atrium, Monday 21 March at 6:30pm. In this guest blog, Jez gives us a brief insight into how change benefits us but why we can be so resistant to do so. Read on to find out more.

"I’m writing a new book.

At the core of my work for the past 16 years has been an interest in why people do the things they do - and indeed why they sometimes don’t.

Our ability to change is a remarkable trait of our species, yet change doesn’t naturally sit comfortably for many of us and as such, people don’t readily change. It’s why we stay in relationships we know deep down aren’t right, and why we don’t set up that business we’ve always dreamt of, for example.

Change resistance exists for several reasons but I believe that at its heart is a threat to our identity: our lives are constructed of routines; comfort zones; boundaries, and those rhythms we have created. Each are important because they define us.

The balance and comfort we feel when we drink our favourite brand of drink from our preferred mug, followed by doing ‘this thing’ and then ‘that thing’; and driving a particular route to work; fulfilling our scheduled tasks, or regular social engagements, coupled with our hopes, dreams, aspirations, beliefs and opinions is what makes us: us.

Somewhat ironically, the idea of evolving or progressing is one that appeals to most of us much more than the idea of having to change. Change is something that inherently feels like it happens to us; whereas evolving feels like we’re in control, and something we can choose to do because we want to willingly go on that positive onward journey. The cornerstone of our response to change is whether or not we are willing and active participants of the change, or assessing and coping with it having been forced upon us.

What so often gets in our way, however, are our comfort zones. We get to choose how we respond because our comfort zones are defined by us. Admittedly they can be influenced and shaped by childhood events; parenting and life experiences, but they are not set in stone.

We don’t challenge our comfort zones because we rarely ask enough questions. The result is that we continue to only know what we know, and only ever live how we have: in short, we are often our greatest barrier to change. The more questions we ask, the more opportunities we’ll discover to check that we’re on the right path. The two I encourage most often are: “Why do I do it this way?”, and “How do I make it better?”.

The hardest question to answer is: “Who am I now?”. Who we were, as people, as teams and as organisations just two years ago is different to who we are now. We have all changed. Despite our resistance to change, we are constantly changing: who you were in your teens was not the same person you were in your twenties; and likewise, thirty two year old you is not, or will not, be the same as fifty two year old you. World circumstances have shown us all how readily we are able to adapt, evolve and habituate as our journey develops. 

Periods of change almost always involve four key periods, and have a striking similarity to nature’s very own process of change. We enter the cycle at the behaviour change equivalent of autumn: a period of harvesting, repair and regeneration. It’s during the autumn season in nature that crops are harvested; gardeners cut back flowers and plants so the plant’s energy is focused on the roots to create a stronger and bigger plant for next year. We add fertiliser into the soil; dig it over to allow air and goodness in and gather our crops to prepare for winter.

For humans you can readily relate I’m sure to that period of purging unnecessary things when you think back to the end of a relationship, leaving a job or moving house: the glee of throwing out items of forgotten clothing your ex left, and pouring every last drop of that expensive aftershave down the sink. We strip things back as we repair and regenerate.

Following this we enter the equivalent of winter. A period of dormancy and bleakness when we often think nothing is happening. In nature there is in fact plenty happening below the soil, however, simultaneously there’s also nothing happening. Even nature knows that sometimes it’s important to rest; to press pause; to reset. Something we don’t do nearly enough of – and then wonder why we don’t manage. We, too, move from our period of repair to a period of dormancy.

In time we move into spring: that period of growth when things noticeably start to happen: we move on; ideas formulate; we adapt, evolve, and things we’ve put into place start to develop. We recover from pain; we find ourselves with more energy, or inspiration.

And of course, then (but not finally) we move into summer: a period of ultimate abundance, which, if you spend any time on social media, you’d think was possible to constantly stay living in. But it’s not. It simply isn’t possible for us to live in a period of abundance all the time. Just like nature, it is the natural rhythm of life; the natural rhythm of human behaviour that we move through four very different periods of change.

Knowing which part of the change cycle you are in at any one time is really important: you can plan for what you know is coming, but also be reassured of where you are – and why.

One thing I have observed, is that unlike nature’s seasons, which are relatively consistent and equal, certainly here in England anyway, human periods of change drastically alter depending on what it is that is changing. The time you spend in a period of dormancy may be long. It may be extremely quick. Your period of abundance may be short lived, or it may blossom for a wonderful longevity. 

However, it is not possible to fight nature; nor is it, I believe, possible to alter the duration of the periods of change you must go through. Sometimes you just need to sit on your hands.

We are human: it is in many ways our greatest strength, but because we are only human, it is also one of our greatest weaknesses. 

If we acknowledge our weaknesses, or areas of potential development; our ability to adapt, evolve, or think differently about something, we vicariously give ourselves permission to be human: to be vulnerable and authentic. That’s one thing the incredible technology we are surrounded by can’t offer. In fact, it relies on us being honest and authentic to get the very most out of it. 

And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt that is incredibly important right now, the greatest gift you can offer someone, is your authentic self."

Jez Rose - Bolder, Braver, Stronger is at the Pavilion Theatre Atrium from Monday 21 March at 6:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/jez-rose-bolder-braver-stronger or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

WTM Supports Ukraine
WTM Supports Ukraine

WTM Supports Ukraine

Like many of you, we have been watching the situation in Ukraine unfold with horror and compassion. We are working with an organisation to act as a donation centre for much needed supplies which we will then transport to a central collection location in London before they are taken to the border in Poland.

We will be lighting the Connaught Theatre blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine and we will be hosting a screening of the new Ukrainian film OLGA, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross to support their aid programs. You can buy tickets to OLGA here.

We appreciate that there is a cost of living crisis here in the UK, but if you are able to donate any of the following it would be hugely appreciated. Our discussions with the charity have been hugely humbling and we are proud to be helping in our own small way.

ITEMS NEEDED ARE:

  • New thermal underwear and socks
  • New children's warm clothes
  • Wet wipes
  • Nappies
  • Dry food / canned food (all sealed and in date)
  • Pet food - unopened
  • Batteries

It's important to note that these items should be new, rather than an opportunity to clear a cupboard - we are sure those items could be donated elsewhere locally to help. These donations can be accepted at the Connaught Theatre on Union Place during the following hours between Fri 11 March & Wed 23 March.

Connaught Theatre Opening Hours:

Saturday and Sunday 10am - 8.30pm

Monday to Friday 12.30pm - 8.30pm

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Q&A with Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett for Looking Good Dead
Q&A with Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett for Looking Good Dead

Q&A with Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett for Looking Good Dead

Multi-million No.1 best-selling author Peter James returns to the Connaught Stage with the world premiere stage production of Looking Good Dead, starring award-winning actor and EastEnders' icons, Adam Woodyatt and star of stage and screen Laurie Brett.

The show is coming to the Connaught Theatre for several performances from Monday 4 April at 7:30pm. Read on to find out how the stars of this thrilling live theatre performance found bringing Peter James' murder mystery tale to life.

What can audiences expect when they come to see Looking Good Dead (no spoilers)?
Adam: It’s a really brilliant production. Peter James’ story is excellent, and the script has been adapted beautifully. It’s got thrills, fun, twists and turns and I am confident that people can have a lovely evening or afternoon out. Plus, you can get an ice cream in the interval!

Laurie: They’re going to be coming to see a murder mystery - it’s very Peter James. It's a story about a normal married couple who suffer the consequences after bringing an abandoned memory stick home. There’s going to be lots of laughs, gasps, and a brilliant twist. I can normally work out a twist at the end, and I can say that when I read the script for the first time, I did not see it coming! The outcome is very surprising.

Can you tell us a bit about who you play in the show? Can you relate to them in any
way?
Adam: I play Tom Bryce, he’s a businessman, husband, father, basically a very normal bloke. So he’s easy to relate to in many ways.

Laurie: Kellie is a very interesting character; on the surface she seems like a suburban housewife but she’s actually multi-layered. For me, she’s a woman who has some sadness in her, a real sense of unfulfillment – unfulfilled talents, unfulfilled dreams – and she has some secrets. She’s like a swan, that glides along, looking good, but she’s frantically paddling underneath. She has a lot of guilt and regrets, which for me is very interesting to play. I don’t really relate to her as I don’t have any regrets, and I wouldn’t put myself in the same position that she puts herself in.

You’ve previously worked together as a married couple on EastEnders (Ian and Jane
Beale), how does it differ working together this time around?
Adam: This time it’s on stage and not on TV. It’s great working with Laurie again, it’s very easy, comfortable. There is a familiarity that is just there.

Laurie: It’s no different at all. Adam and I had an instant chemistry way back in 2004, and whether it’s on stage or on screen, we’ve got a shorthand that you’ve either got or you haven’t, so we’re very lucky in that respect. We know each other so well, so it’s a great thing, getting to play with the characters and explore their dynamic. It’s no different to being on the telly, we just have to be slightly different technically. It’s an absolute joy.


What are your fondest memories from being together in Albert Square?
Adam: There were so many moments… the live ep, the tandem, the braying horse!!! And I’m looking forward to having more memorable moments.

Laurie: There’s so many, there’s too many to even think about. One that sticks out was on my eighth audition for the show (EastEnders). Out of the corner of my eye I could see this person’s head popping around the corner while I was filming a monologue to camera – it was Adam. After my audition he came up and introduced himself and escorted me out of the studio. When I actually joined the show, he just went, ‘I knew it would be you!’ From the minute we met we just couldn’t stop chatting, we really get on, and understand one another.

The previous Peter James plays have had some great star names from television and
you now join that list - what do you think attracts actors to his plays?
Adam: There have been some great names, and I actually know some of them they’re colleagues of mine! I’m really looking forward to being part of this show and I know Shane Ritchie had nothing but brilliant things to say about the Peter James productions he has beenpart of. Of course I spoke to him and asked what it was like!

Laurie: I’m not sure about everyone else, but the thing that attracted me to this play was working with Josh Andrews (the producer) again, and obviously Adam. The thought of working with Adam again, and the comfort that comes with it, was what made me want to do it.

Do you enjoy the novels of Peter James?
Adam: I have read Looking Good Dead and really enjoyed it, despite not being a massive reader. I’m hoping that the show will appeal to fans of Peter James’ novels and many more people as well. When I read the book, I was kept guessing the entire time, and I hope we can keep that excitement for audiences.

Laurie: I’ll be honest and admit that, until working on this production, I hadn’t actually read a Peter James novel, however I really enjoyed Looking Good Dead, so I’ll definitely be reading some more after this tour.


Peter has sold millions of books, which have been Number One on the Bestseller List 19 times, but why do you think the adaptation of his books to stage has been so successful?
Adam: The adaptations are always faithful to the book, but with a twist or a tiny change so that even someone who knows the book incredibly well isn’t one hundred percent certain what is going to happen, which adds a brilliant element of surprise and anticipation. Added to that, as well as the thrills there’s some good humour in the plays. I think there’s a lot to look forward to in Looking Good Dead.

Laurie: I think murder mystery and crime stories, such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple, have long been a part of British culture, which makes stage productions in this genre greatly appealing to the British public and the Peter James plays are a very successful modern day version of that, which appeals to today’s audiences.

Why do you think audiences love to see a good thriller on stage?
Adam: I really enjoy a good thriller. I’m not one for horrors, but something that makes you jump a bit and gets your adrenaline going is great entertainment. If we can draw people in and make them believe everything and end with a sharp intake of breath, then I think we have done our job. It’s one of those chances to get a thrill in a safe space.

Laurie: I think people just love a good mystery, myself included, and we love to have a go at guessing ‘whodunit’.

You’ve appeared on both stage and screen, do you have a preference?
Adam: What has really appealed to me about being part of Looking Good Dead is getting that live reaction. EastEnders has had massive responses when we have done live episodes. Especially in 2015 for me. I loved it. I loved that feeling of immediacy and knowing that what happens in this moment is what the audience will see there and then. I love that buzz. I’ve done pantomimes over the years which are always a favourite thing for me to do, so the prospect of being able to go out and do a theatre tour is really exciting.

Laurie: I started performing on stage at the age of five as a dancer and I do love being on stage. Being able to see, hear and feel an audience is an electric experience. It’s very different to screen work, though, and requires a totally different technique and process. If I had to choose between the two, I would probably choose working on screen just because I love the subtlety and technique involved in working well behind a camera.

What’re you most looking forward to about taking the show on the road?
Adam: I’m so looking forward to getting to see some parts of the country that I have never visited before. I’m also looking forward to spending my daytimes with my bike and having a wander around the local areas. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the different theatres. I know that around the country there are some stunning and historic buildings everywhere. I’ve done the same job for 36 years so to have a chance to go and enjoy myself touring the country is so exciting for me.

Laurie: It’s a real joy getting the chance to work with Adam again, so performing with him every night is definitely a highlight. I feel very lucky to be on the stage again because the buzz of live theatre and that relationship that exists between actor and audience is really thrilling. I also love the fact that every show is always a little bit different.

What are your plans once the tour ends?
Adam: I’m going to help a friend out who has a pop up restaurant at Pub in the Park during the summer if I’ve not got any proper work on.

Laurie: I’m really looking forward to spending some more time with my daughter and there’s also another project that I might be involved in if all goes to plan, so I’m really excited about that. I also might finally take a holiday!

Looking Good Dead is at the Connaught Theatre from Monday 4 April at 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/peter-james-looking-good-dead or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Superstar Arts performance Connection – Worthing Museum
Superstar Arts performance Connection – Worthing Museum

Superstar Arts performance Connection – Worthing Museum

Worthing Theatres and Museum are thrilled to have been able to work with Superstar Arts as part of Spin Out 2021 WTM. The Worthing based charity used the museum gallery spaces to perform their dance piece, Connection.

Superstar Arts choreographed the 20 minute musical promenade with WTM Spin Out performers, Kapow - Dance Circus Theatre. Since returning from shielding and lockdown, the Superstar Artists have been creatively exploring how the pandemic has made them feel and behave. Connection reflects the struggle that they and their families faced with changes to their daily lives and routines during the Covid pandemic.

Jo Telling, Creative Manager at Superstar Arts mentions that "It was an important piece for us that enabled the group to tell their story and express their feelings about their journey through the pandemic and what has remained important to them. A massive thank you to Vicki Wells from the museum and all the staff at Superstar for making this happen. Another big thanks to 'Kapow' dance and performance group for bringing another dimension to the piece."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0woz21T2VOo

Founded in 2012, Superstar Arts is a charity delivering creative educational projects and workshops for young people and adults with learning disabilities in the Worthing area. They are committed to creating meaningful opportunities, delivering high quality innovative artistic experiences and enabling people with learning disabilities to explore social and emotional issues in a positive, creative way.

Nobody Q&A with Motionhouse’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan
Nobody Q&A with Motionhouse’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan

Nobody Q&A with Motionhouse’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan

Nobody is a fast-moving and highly physical dance-circus performance, exploring tension between our inner lives and how we make sense of the world around us. Motionhouse’s renowned dance-circus style combines with mesmerising choreography to tell this emotional and ultimately uplifting story, full of twists and turns. This awe-inspiring performance is coming to the Connaught Theatre on the 30th March at 7:30pm.

Talking to the Motionhouse's Co-Founder and Artist Director Kevin Finnan, we found out about the inspiration behind Nobody. Read on to find out more.

Co-Founder and Artist Director, Kevin Finnan

Where did the inspiration for the show come from?

I wanted to explore tension between our inner lives and how we make sense of the world around us. While we were in lockdown, I began to realise that there was a synergy between what we were all experiencing being confined to our own homes and what I wanted to express in Nobody.

I became more and more interested in the voices in our heads, and how these were coming to the foreground of many people’s consciousness as we spent time alone. I became very interested in my own experiences and the stories I was hearing about how lockdown was affecting many people mentally – how they were struggling to deal with their inner voice. This approach gained traction when I heard a psychiatrist on a BBC Radio 4 programme explaining that in fact the voices people hear in their heads when suffering from psychosis are their own inner voices – they just don’t recognise them as that. I began to read as much as I could on the subject, and this helped my ideas for the crow characters to develop and grow.

The group of crows in the show represents our inner voices – and our struggle to find ourselves and who we are. All of the cast play two characters – a human and a crow. This is the first ever Motionhouse show with an interval, and this has opened up a whole range of possibilities in terms of the narrative arc of Nobody. In the first act we witness how the crows affect the humans’ behaviour; we follow the journey of their struggle to find themselves as they deal with the voices in their heads, represented by the crows. Then act 2 reflects the great lesson that many of us have learned from this experience about the importance of being together and the strength we all get from that.


What has it been like bringing Nobody to life? Has there been any challenges?

When Covid hit in March 2020 I’d already started work on making Nobody, and our creation period came to an abrupt halt along with the rest of the world. In retrospect, this unexpected hiatus in the show’s  reation has enriched it, completely changing the direction of the production, but at the time it was a daunting situation: how could I create a new production with no access to our dancers or the other collaborators – set designer, composers or filmmakers for the projections? We suddenly had no idea when the show would premiere and when theatres would reopen.

How do you go about building a narrative which is told by dance-circus storytelling?

It’s about extending what the human body can do. Our performers are all trained dancers and we add in circus skills when they begin training and working with us. Tricks are great but if there’s no context then that’s all there is. I always try to find a rationale behind them. You can say, ‘’Circus - wow! Beautiful...’’ But you also have to look at how you arrive at each moment. It’s what poets do with words. The language is always moving, so you have to hold to your intention. For us it’s more of a narrative where tricks are woven into the action.


The show features lots of digital projections and it also involves a shape-shifting set. What’s it been like incorporating that into the show?

When I’m making a new production, I work collaboratively with the dancers to create the choreography and movement vocabulary of the production, setting creative tasks, allocating time for them to ‘play’ on the set, in order to explore the possibilities that this offers in terms of being an ‘apparatus’ for the movement to take place on. When we returned to the studio to resume creation, this way of working allowed us as a group to release everything we had experienced during lockdown. All of the pent-up feelings of not being able to dance or be with others for such an extended period came out in the movement we were creating.

I think this means that in addition to the usual blend of dance and circus that audiences expect from Motionhouse, this show offers something completely new too. I feel like with Nobody we are breaking new ground, and that’s very exciting. We’re really embracing the relationship between dance, digital and circus in new ways; further developing our dance-circus language and taking our exploration of digital projections to new levels. In this show, we’re tracking moving objects with the projections, enabling us to bring the projections into the space.

How does Nobody relate to the present day?

Nobody is a reminder of the value of being with each other, and how that can help put the voices in our heads into a context where we can manage them. It’s about our relationship to who we think we are, and how important it is to take time to stop and assess. Ultimately, it’s about all of us and none of us. But I want it to speak to everybody.

What do you hope audiences will take home after seeing Nobody?

For me, the production means a lot – it represents new beginnings and a renewed sense of purpose as an artist. I want people to have an emotional journey as they watch Nobody and different people will take away different elements of the show and have their own personal responses to it.

Nobody is at the Connaught Studio on Wednesday 30 March at 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/nobody or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Author Julia Donaldson talks Zog and the Flying Doctors
Author Julia Donaldson talks Zog and the Flying Doctors

Author Julia Donaldson talks Zog and the Flying Doctors

Best known for her popular rhyming stories for children, especially those illustrated by Axel Scheffler, Julia Donaldson is the multi award-winning author of some of the world's best loved children's books, most notably the modern classic The Gruffalo which has sold over 18 million copies worldwide.

Many of Julia and Axel’s books have made the journey from page to stage, and this year the bestselling Zog and the Flying Doctors joins them. A follow-up to Freckle Productions’ smash-hit adaptation of Zog, the origin story about the eponymous dragon, the sequel follows Zog and his Flying Doctor crew, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, as they tend to a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with one too many horns and a lion with the flu.

Zog and the Flying Doctors flies into the Pavilion Theatre on Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 April 2022 as part of its World Premiere tour. Read on to find out more about the magical show. 


Where did the idea for Zog come from?

"Well that one was quite unusual” Julia says, “in that the initial idea didn’t come from me. My editor said to me ‘it would be lovely to have a story about a dragon’, so I started thinking about it and the name ‘Madam Dragon’ came into my head, which I thought had a nice sound."

And then I thought what could Madame Dragon do, who could she be? I came up with various ideas and a schoolteacher was one of them, so I took it from there. Originally it was going to be about a knight and a dragon, but it ended up being about a Princess and a dragon – the story came to me bit by bit."

“My husband Malcolm, who is a doctor, also had some input here. Because when I was planning the story, I knew that Zog would keep meeting the Princess, and originally I was going to have them play together and toast marshmallows. And Malcolm said that’s a bit soppy, couldn’t it be something with a bit more oomph? And then I came up with the doctor angle”.

Of course Zog is not the first animal to star in one of Julia’s stories. From a cat in Tabby McTat, to a fish in Tiddler, to the now-iconic Gruffalo, animals are often Julia’s most memorable creations. “It’s often used as a convention – like in Aesop’s Fables, where the animals aren’t really animals, they represent a quality or a characteristic. I also think it would be far more boring for the reader, if Mouse in The Gruffalo was just a small but clever person, or The Gruffalo itself was a big, scary but rather stupid person. Or in The Snail and the Whale, if the Whale was just a big person and the snail a little person – I think you need animals to represent the qualities”.

One facet of the enduring success of Julia’s stories is her partnership with illustrator Axel Scheffler who has brought so many of her characters to life.

So how does this collaboration work?

“It’s always through the editor”, Julia explains. “I never exchange a word with Axel about the pictures until my editor shows him the book – and then I have a nail-biting moment wondering if he likes it and wants to do it. Then he’ll do some character sketches which I’ll look at. Sometimes, after he’s created sketches for every picture, I’ll think ‘oh hang on, I’m going to change that little bit of text, because I like what he’s done with that’”.


Having had the characters in her head for so long, what’s it like if the illustrations are
different to what she imagined?

“I always say it’s like going on holiday - you’ve got an idea in your head of how it’s going to be, and then it’s always totally different. But once you’re there and enjoying it, you just forget what was in your head before. Also, I usually know when I’m writing something whether I want Axel to work on it – in which case I’ve got his style in my head as I’m working. It doesn’t influence the storyline, but it will influence how I picture the characters – so I’m usually not surprised when I see Axel’s interpretation.”

Many of Julia’s books have now been adapted for film or theatre where they are reimagined all over again. “For me, it’s like an extension of working with an illustrator. Handing it over to a theatre company or film company you know it’s going to change a bit; the end product will be a blend of my words and their artistic vision. And they do usually consult me and tell me what they’ve got in mind.”

The stage adaptations of Julia and Axel’s books, from Zog to Stick Man, are often a child’s first time experiencing live theatre, something Julia clearly takes pleasure in. “I remember going to see The Nutcracker when I was a child and I found the whole thing completely magical. I can still remember how I felt when the curtain went up. I suppose in a way it’s the same thing that a book gives you, in that while you’re reading or watching, you believe in a different reality. And if it’s a good show, parents love to see that their children – even very young ones – can just be transfixed by it.”

Zog and the Flying Doctors is at the Assembly Hall on Thursday 03 February 2022, 7:30pm. For more info go to wtm.uk/events/zog-and-the-flying-doctors or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Hidden People – Hikapee Interview
Hidden People – Hikapee Interview

Hidden People – Hikapee Interview

Hidden People, using aerial circus & creative technology performance, tells the story of a female architect who’s faced with the controversial task of building a hydroelectric dam in the Icelandic highlands. Under extreme pressure, she starts sensing a presence of something, or someone around her.

With the show coming to the Pavilion Theatre, Sat 12 March at 2pm & 7:30pm. We caught up with creators Hikapee, who are collaborating with Icelandic based company ‘Huldufugl', to discover what led them to create this extraordinary show. 

Where did the inspiration for Hidden People come from?

Edd and Bryony (the founders of Hikapee) travelled to Iceland on holiday in the summer of 2017 and met up with Nanna and Owen (the founders of Huldufugl). On a hike up a remote mountain in the Icelandic highlands, they came across a sign telling a local folklore story, next to a point of interest. Nanna then explained some of the folklore surrounding Icelandic hidden people, the “huldufolk”, and modern attitudes towards these stories. This sparked an interest in telling a forward-thinking story that included these hidden people, and how we could show their presence on-stage when they shouldn’t really be visible.

How did the story come to be told through aerial circus and creative technology?

Hikapee specialises in telling narrative stories through the use of aerial circus so that was the starting point. For this modern take on the hidden people, they wanted to use forward-thinking technology and play with light and shadow, creating the illusion that the audience is seeing something, or someone, on stage when it’s just a trick of lighting. For example showing footsteps that would then disappear and not have a physical body connected to them. They decided to go with projections to achieve this effect, but also to represent the dynamic and colourful Icelandic landscape. Huldufugl specialises in combining physical theatre with creative technology, and seeing as the idea had come up in Iceland whilst visiting Huldufugl the two companies decided to join forces and collaborate with a co-production.


What has it been like producing the show? Have there been any challenges?

We have been very fortunate to receive funding and venue support for all three of our rehearsal stages from various sources, including Arts Council England, Nordic Culture Point, Nordisk Kulturfond, The Finnish Institute, Jacksons Lane Theatre, Out There Arts, 101 Outdoor Arts, The Point and Worthing Theatres. However there have been plenty of challenges, the main ones being the increased waiting times for funding decisions due to Covid, the pandemic itself and added complications affecting our international collaboration due to Brexit. The first R&D took place in December 2018 and March 2019, and was split between Iceland and the UK. The second R&D took place in September 2019 and January 2020 and was split between the UK and Finland. The final creation was supposed to take place in late 2020, but when the pandemic hit then we were unable to apply for the funding we needed as there was no funding available for a long period of time.

When Arts Council England opened up for smaller grants we applied, and succeeded, in getting a grant to support a spin-off short film project for VR. This way we could still keep creating and keep our minds focused on the project instead of having a 2 year hiatus. This spin-off  project is a short animated piece for VR, made using aerial circus movement, captured with motion capture suits and supported by Target3D. We anticipate that we are able to tour the VR project along with the stage version once they are both fully realised. The final creation of the stage show is taking place from January to March 2022 in the UK, leading up to the premiere at Worthing Pavilion Theatre on 12 March.

At the time of writing - things are going smoothly, and we haven’t faced any major challenges during this final rehearsal process. There have been some minor illnesses but we are taking full precaution against Covid, such as all cast members taking lateral flow tests every other day. So far no-one has had to take a day off rehearsals! It is however stressful and challenging to plan rehearsals for an international production during such uncertain times. Our composer in Iceland sadly both got Covid and broke her arm on the same day so has been unable to join us in the UK for as much as we’d have liked.

All in all our timeframe is 2 years behind schedule, and in the meantime Brexit laws have been implemented, meaning that we now require a working visa for any non-UK nationalities involved in the project. That has both come with extra costs and extra production time that didn’t exist when we started this project. It was quite challenging to navigate what was needed to fulfil all requirements for a mid-scale theatre/circus performance. Fortunately we received funding from The Icelandic Embassy in London to cover some of these costs.

We are however extremely happy that we’ve been able to finalise the show after months of uncertainty, and we can’t wait to share the outcome with audience members in March!


The show explores the Icelandic folklore of the huldufolk (hidden people). Can
you go into more detail of what this folklore is and where it came from?

Hidden people are as real to most Icelanders as Santa Claus is to most British children, or ghosts to people of all ages. Hidden People seem to be more visible to children, but this belief lessens as they grow older. They are like a more evolved version of people, in that they look the same and dress the same, except advanced, around 50 years ahead of where we are today.

They can both be helpful or sinister, just like people, but also represent Icelandic nature as they live within rocks and mountains. In a way they have become a symbol for Icelandic nature, sort of like nature spirits, representing both its benevolent and dangerous sides. Weather in Iceland can be especially volatile, and change from glorious sunshine to freezing, and sometimes fatal, snowstorms in the span of only a few minutes. In a similar way, the stories of the hidden people can include anything from helping with childbirth to enticing people into certain death.


Stories of the hidden people have passed down generations to generations, dating back to the settlement of the country. There are two origin tales, both related to Christianity - Iceland adopted Christianity over Paganism in the year 1000.

In one of the origin stories Eve hides her dirty children from God that she had yet to give a bath, and God declares that “those who you hide from me shall also be hidden from men”. The children became invisible and retreated to the hills and rocks. In the other, the hidden people descend from spirits that were driven to earth and forced to live in the rocks and hills after they neither fought with the devil nor took his side when the devil revolted in heaven. In both stories it’s explained that the hidden people can only be seen when they choose to be seen themselves.

Most of the stories were written down in the 18th and 19th centuries and in them they mirror humans, except they are usually more beautiful, powerful, alluring and free from care whilst Icelanders at the time were often starving and struggling to survive. With time the hidden people have become stuck in this time in common view, they are still portrayed as living in turf houses and wearing 19th century national dress - whereas humans have moved on. If the stories had never been written down, then perhaps today the hidden people would be said to have better internet connection and faster, cleaner cars.

In this project, we really focused on the idea that in our modern times, our hidden people should be much more evolved than humans. That idea combined with them being representative of nature made us think, for example, that their imagined way of life could suggest solutions to the global climate crisis the world is currently facing.

What do you find is the most interesting aspect about the show?

The show is very interdisciplinary, using physical theatre mixed with aerial circus, acrobatics, contemporary dance and projection to tell a narrative story. We’re using circus artists to portray the hidden people, so they can glide and flow with ease around the stage, in contrast with the human characters that use bulkier equipment such as harnesses and climbing ropes to traverse our set, a 4 metre high and 10 metre wide wall. The wall represents both a dam that is being built in the Icelandic
highlands, as well as the mountainous landscape that the dam will flood when completed. Changes in scenery are then presented through projected visuals that help tell the story. We love mixing circus with theatre, so that we are able to tell a theatrical story that still contains some incredible circus skills to drive the story forward.

What do you hope audiences will take home after watching Hidden People?

We hope that our audience will have a new understanding of contemporary circus and how the unique feats of strength, agility and coordination can be used to tell stories in new ways. We hope that we inspire them in some way, whether that’s to have a discussion about our environmental impact in the world or to run away with the circus!

Hidden People is at the Pavilion Theatre on Saturday 12 March at 2pm & 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/the-hidden-people or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Mary Rose Interview with Director Nick Young
Mary Rose Interview with Director Nick Young

Mary Rose Interview with Director Nick Young

The Conn Artists Theatre Company return to the Connaught Theatre with their mystical production Mary Rose. We got the chance to interview Director Nick Young to find out the inspiration behind the spellbinding play. 

Can you tell us about Conn Artists and what they represent?

They are a creative, innovative powerhouse of new theatre in a reeling world! I’ve always
loved working with them and Ross especially, as we share the same language and ideals of making live theatre special, and each performance being unique.

What inspired you to create this production of Mary Rose?

I love the play, and like Ross, I love JM Barrie. I directed a conventional production at the
Connaught many years ago, and knew that it would be impossible to do similar in a touring
production that would visit so many different sizes and types of theatres. Barrie writes the
most imaginative and inspiring stage directions (if you are ever bored, look at his original
script of Peter Pan). To give this production that unique Conn Artists feel, we have
incorporated the stage directions into the script, along with live music and action, and
taking the audience along with us to share this most imaginative, amusing, thought-
provoking story about love, loss and going home.

What has it been like bringing the production of Mary Rose to life? Has there been any
challenges?

The challenge has been realising and brining to life a play which conventionally had changes of place and time, and making it all flow together. I think we have done that with the script and design, and now we are ready for the actors to arrive and make magic!

What do you think J.M. Barrie might make of the play?

He wrote the play just after World War I, where he had lost so many close companions. I
feel he was working out his grief along with his wonderful sense of humour and insight into character. I’ve always felt great affinity with Barrie, and just hope he would appreciate what we are doing with his masterpiece.

What do you hope audiences might take home after watching Mary Rose?

I hope they will feel uplifted and inspired by the journey the play takes them on. I know they will enjoy Barrie’s humour brought to the stage by our great actors, and empathise with all those who have ever loved and lost someone. The play moves beyond a mere five-sense reality, and suggests that audiences and actors question those eternal questions. Hopefully they will remember the music, and revel at experiencing things that are unique to live theatre.

Mary Rose is at the Connaught Studio on Thursday 03 and Friday 04 March 2022, 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/mary-rose or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Venue Closure – Red Weather Warning
Venue Closure – Red Weather Warning

Venue Closure – Red Weather Warning

Unfortunately due to the red weather warning in force from the Met Office and in the interest of the safety of our customers and staff all our venues are closed today -Friday 18 February. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and we expect to be open as usual on Saturday, follow us on social media and check wtm.uk for updates.

If you had tickets for a show or film today

All scheduled events on Friday 18 February 2022 are cancelled so please stay at home. If you have tickets for today, the Box Office team will be in touch as soon as possible to refund or rearrange your booking, however there will be a delay to this while our venues are closed.

If you were due to collect an Open21 submission

If you were due to collect an Open21 submission or purchase from Worthing Museum and Gallery we will be in contact soon to arrange an alternative date and time.

You can still book tickets online for our amazing programme of upcoming live events, films, talks and workshops. You can see all our events here.

Mary Rose Interview with Actress Jenny Rowe
Mary Rose Interview with Actress Jenny Rowe

Mary Rose Interview with Actress Jenny Rowe

Coming soon to the Connaught Theatre is Conn Artists hauntingly beautiful play, Mary Rose. We spoke to Actress Jenny Rowe, who portrays Mrs Morland in this mystical production to find out more about her role in the play.

What’s it like to be a part of Conn Artists?  

As a new performer to the group, it felt very easy to slot in, by which I mean it’s clear everyone’s passionate about getting the work done and producing something great, but also that there’s a strong sense of care and empathy for one another. Also, I’ve had a laugh with everyone so far and that’s one of the most important things to me as a performer – to feel relaxed when we’re working hard!

Can you tell us more about your role in Mary Rose?

I play Mrs Morland – the mother of Mary Rose. She’s a Victorian lady and very delightful. She has a great relationship with her husband, James, and they clearly love each other a lot, but there’s no mistaking that she’s the captain of the Morland’s ship, albeit steering with a subtle touch. She’s intuitive, passionate and desperate to protect her daughter. 

I also play Mrs Otery, the housekeeper who, together with the character, Harry, sort of book-ends the play. To me, she’s a woman who’s trying to hold reality together, as if, to admit that there’s anything wrong would crack the fabric of the world somehow. She’s no nonsense, and feisty when she wants to be but there’s more to her than meets the eye.

What do you find most interesting about your character? How do they work within the dynamic of the show? 

For Mrs Morland, it’s the balancing of everyday life and keeping a happy house, with the ever-present Mary Rose who – even when she’s not there – is all-pervasive. Incidentally, I would say the house is very much a character in this play too; I think Barrie makes that very clear in the stage directions.

How have you found bringing your character to life?

Rehearsals haven’t started yet, but I’ve chatted with Nick, the director, about Mrs Morland and currently, I’m watching a few shows set around the time, just to remind myself of the era and sensibilities - and making notes, lots of notes. But, the characters are very much there in the script so it’s in the reading and re-reading that I keep finding more and more clues to why the characters do what they do. I expect costume will help too, so I’m excited to see what Laura (Designer) comes up with.

What do you think J.M. Barrie might make of the play?

I think he’d be chuffed to bits that we still wanted to perform his work so long after his death, but maybe he’d be a little sad that it’s still so relevant to a 21st century audience. But, then, humanity is all about love and loss, it’s just in Barrie’s day it was the Great War and now it’s Covid-19, people being displaced from their countries, so many things.

What do you hope audiences might take home after watching Mary Rose?

I think it’s an incredibly moving play. The Morlands are so easy and happy in each other’s company and I really think it’s very funny in places. I hope audiences will be thinking about it long after we’ve moved on to the next venue.

Mary Rose is at the Connaught Studio on Thursday 03 and Friday 04 March 2022, 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/mary-rose or call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

Q&A with the team behind Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore
Q&A with the team behind Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore

Q&A with the team behind Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore

Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore is a hilarious new live performance, inspired by the world of Dungeons and Dragons, incorporates epic battle sequences, creative use of puppetry and audience game play. It has been devised and developed with young people and is presented in partnership with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

Coming to the Connaught Studio, Friday 25 March 2022 at 7:30pm. Read on to find out more from the makers of Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore at Cherwell Theatre Company.

Tell us a bit about Cherwell Theatre Company.
Tristan Jackson-Pate (Writer/Director): I’ve been lucky to be Artistic Director for Cherwell Theatre Company (or CTC as we’re usually known) since 2015, but we were established back in 2004 as a creative home for young people in North Oxfordshire. Essentially, we create a safe environment where young people can be themselves, make new friends and make theatre in collaboration with professional artists. Over the years we’ve made shows in a range of quirky site-specific venues from a decommissioned nuclear bunker to a castle- we even have plans to create a show in an open air swimming pool in 2022! Our patron is Sir Trevor Nunn, one of the many professionals who support us in the belief that CTC creates access for all, regardless of background.

And for this production you’ve partnered with Butterfingers?
Tristan Jackson-Pate: Yes, we’ve initiated a new game theatre collective, Butterfingers, with my co-writers and actors Jess Lloyd-Jones and Krage Brown.

Krage Brown (Actor/Writer): Having worked together previously and getting along so well the three of us really wanted to work on something new and fun together and thus Butterfingers was born! Sam & Zoe is our first co-written show together and one we’re all incredibly proud of.

Jess Lloyd-Jones (Actor/Writer): We came up with the name Butterfingers because we wanted our theatre to represent the idea that life can be beautifully messy and no one is perfect.

Your show ‘Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore’ comes to The Connaught Studio on Friday 25 March 2022 what’s it all about?
Jess Lloyd-Jones: In our play, Sam is depressed. His partner Zoe can’t reach him, so in a last ditch attempt to ‘save’ him, she designs a game for them to play with the help of a willing
audience.

Krage Brown: The show is sort of like a theatrical game of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and
incorporates interactive storytelling, physical theatre battles and puppetry.

So what sparked the idea for Sam & Zoe?
Tristan Jackson-Pate: The show was inspired by some of the young men we work with in
CTC’s youth theatre, who are passionate about DnD but experience social anxiety. They have helped to develop the idea, through an Arts Council funded research and development process,
which took place in March 2020, just before the lockdown commenced. Over a couple of weeks we brought together young people from CTC, students at Banbury College and Pegasus Theatre with
a professional creative team, a representative from CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and an award winning game theatre Dramaturg, who developed approaches to give our audiences agency with us, allowing them to influence the outcome of the story.

Krage Brown: We are avid gamers – video and physical – so getting the opportunity to develop a story set partly within a fantasy world is something we were very keen to dive into! Mixing the two worlds – theatre and gaming just sounded like it’d be fun for anyone and everyone!

Jess Lloyd-Jones: Whenever I play fantasy games I always notice how the character I have created becomes really confident. During our R&D it was so wonderfully interesting seeing the young people become these proud & unapologetic characters also. I think sometimes it can be very challenging especially as a young person to always be open and creating these characters can sometimes really encourage us to talk more openly. I think that concept really drove the
further development of the show.

What is game theatre?
Krage Brown: Pretty much what you’d expect – merging physical or mental games within a stage show. A win-win combination!

Jess Lloyd-Jones: I’d say it’s about agency and participation. That point when the audience stops being a viewer and becomes a player. The audience can decide whether to become a Mage, Rogue or Barbarian and during the show will play interactive games alongside Sam & Zoe.

Tristan Jackson-Pate: Some of these are twists on well known ‘playground games’ like Grandmother’s footsteps, others require the casting of spells, or solving Tolkienesque riddles!

Tell us about the characters, Sam & Zoe.
Krage Brown: Sam is a fun, creative guy – he enjoys writing and drawing comics set within fantasy worlds inhabited by elves and orcs. Lately he’s been really struggling with his mental health and ability to talk about it with others.

Jess Lloyd-Jones: I would describe Zoe as a very lively, excitable and (slightly) controlling character, though she means well! The couple have been together for some time and she’s noticed Sam isn’t acting himself anymore and so immediately wants to ‘fix’ the problem by immersing him in the world he originally created. She also feels very comfortable playing an elf in the show. She believes she was one in a past life…

What kind of an experience can the audience expect to have?
Tristan Jackson-Pate: We keep the audience very involved throughout, but never in a
pressured way- it’s absolutely not about making anyone feel uncomfortable. The audience form a party of DnD adventurers alongside Sam & Zoe, so they might play supporting roles, help create practical effects and make suggestions to influence story outcomes. Our aim is to create a sense of warmth and community as we tell the story together, and Jess and Krage are so charming and hilarious as Sam & Zoe that they always bring everyone along with them!

Krage: Brown: We’ve partnered with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) for this production, to promote honest conversations around mental health. Each audience member will get a free comic book programme, which also signposts them to the charity’s mental health support services.

Who would enjoy this production?
Tristan Jackson-Pate: Of course, anyone with an interest in DnD, fantasy films and novels, but I’d say more broadly comedy fans- especially those who are looking to see something new
and exciting at the theatre.

Krage Brown: The show is aimed at ages 12+ so it’s pretty inclusive! I’d add that it’s also for anyone looking for a different night out – one that includes both watching some theatre but also joining in and being part of the fun.

Jess Lloyd-Jones: I think if you love Lord of the Rings & fantasy gaming this is the show for
you! I would love to say everyone should come but I’m realising that’s very greedy of me…

Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore is at the Connaught Studio on Friday 25 March 2022 at 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/sam-zoe-vs-evermore or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Mary Rose Interview with Artistic Director, Producer & Actor Ross Muir
Mary Rose Interview with Artistic Director, Producer & Actor Ross Muir

Mary Rose Interview with Artistic Director, Producer & Actor Ross Muir

Mary Rose is a hauntingly beautiful play about lasting love. Originated by J.M Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, it explores time, love and loss. Such enduring themes are given a fresh treatment which is trademark to Conn Artists Theatre Company; here to speak with us about their unique approach to reworking classics is Artistic Director, Producer and Actor Ross Muir. 

Can you tell us about Conn Artists and what they represent?

Conn Artists was founded out of a passionate desire to produce great works of live theatre at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing from whence our company derives its name which essentially means “artists of the Connaught”. We then tour that work specifically to other regional theatres and arts centres. We strongly believe in giving Worthing and Sussex based artists an opportunity to create exciting work and encourage them to become stake-holders in their regional theatre as part of making a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of our community as well as inspiring regional theatre audiences up and down the country. We pride ourselves on always making brave creative choices and we are deeply committed to producing the best quality shows we can. We have shared so many magical moments over the years with our audiences who really appreciate the love and dedication we put into making the theatre we produce.

What has it been like bringing the production of Mary Rose to life? Has there been any challenges?

It has been Conn Artists’ biggest challenge to date. Firstly, as Producer, I had to completely reschedule the original tour from spring 2021 to spring 2022 because of the pandemic; having lost some venues and gaining new venues in the process with lots of diary headaches! Also, as Artistic Director of Conn Artists, I chose to do this play back in 2018 without realising I was then going to lose my father in 2019 (the play’s central theme is about loss) or that the world would then become gripped by a pandemic (the play was written just after the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-20) or at the time having the slightest awareness or concern for the huge challenges it would present our Set Designer! We are touring it to such a diverse range of theatres and arts centres and the play spans a period of over 30 years; moving from a Sussex manor house which is seen at different times from being empty and for sale, back to its heyday and then to an island in the Outer Hebrides and back again! It has really stretched every member of the creative team in so many positive ways so far and will continue to be an amazing creative journey right up until the last night.

Can you tell us more about your role in Mary Rose?

As an actor in the production I get to double two very different roles. Mr Amy is a clergyman and friend to Mr and Mrs Morland who are Mary Rose’s parents. Mr Amy is a gentle soul first seen in his forties and then later on in his sixties but he and Mr Morland do have some funny scenes together bickering over the authenticity of prints that they collect...a shared hobby they enjoy! In contrast to Mr Amy I also play a young Scottish Ghillie.

How do they work within the dynamic of the show?

As I have Scottish ancestry I am really looking forward to playing Cameron with the soft accent of the Highlander. For me personally, the island scene in Act Two between Cameron, Mary Rose and Simon is one of the most brilliantly written scenes for the theatre that I have ever come across in any play. It is pure theatrical and eerie storytelling at its very best. Cameron tells us the local legend and superstition about the ‘Island that likes to be visited’ and of strange disappearances in the past. He is also an important character link in Act Three between the Outer Hebrides and Sussex when Mary Rose returns again after her second disappearance. As a classically trained actor who enjoys character parts I shall be in my element!

What do you think J.M. Barrie might make of the play?

J.M. Barrie is one of my favourite playwrights and I have been so keen to produce one of his plays for many years. He is always remembered for his masterpiece Peter Pan which tends to overshadow the rest of his work. He was a prolific novelist and playwright and some of his other plays, including Mary Rose, are absolutely outstanding like The Professor’s Love-Story, Quality Street, The Admirable Crichton and Dear Brutus; which have all made me laugh, cry and inspired much reflection. Barrie is so much deeper than a casual first glance might suggest and the quality of his work remains relevant and still has something to say; it just has to be reinterpreted by the next generation. I have the greatest respect for his work and I hope he would be proud of how we are reimagining and breathing new life into his wonderful play Mary Rose for which I am also writing new music to go alongside some of the traditional folk songs we are going to insert. We are finding ways to make his play accessible again to 21st Century audiences and, as Barrie came from Kirriemuir and I am a Muir, I like to think I have his blessing!

What do you hope audiences might take home after watching Mary Rose?

Mary Rose is a piece of theatre with absolute relevance and responds to the challenges that people are facing today. The play was first staged at London’s Haymarket Theatre in 1920, written after not only WWI but the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-20, and is therefore an exploration of love, loss and hope that spans a time period of over 30 years. 

Mary Rose doesn’t realise her life has past and she’s frozen in time; and almost as the opposite to Peter Pan, Barrie is not exploring the adventures of children who disappear off to Neverland; so much as the loss felt by those of us who have been left behind after they are gone.

I hope this production is magical and inspiring for our audiences as well as a gripping ghost story with some creepy moments! I also believe the play is cathartic and I hope by echoing our own unresolved losses the ghost of our heroine will become an instrument for healing.

Mary Rose is at the Connaught Studio on Thursday 03 and Friday 04 March 2022, 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at wtm.uk/events/mary-rose or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Spymonkey Clown Creation School
Spymonkey Clown Creation School

Spymonkey Clown Creation School

We are thrilled to announce that in May 2022 Spymonkey will be offering their third intensive three-week Clown Creation School in partnership with Worthing Theatres and Museum and take place in the Pavilion Theatre Atrium, an intimate venue with incredible views of Worthing seafront.

The school is aimed at emerging and professional performers who would like to build on their clown and physical comedy work, and take it to the next level of production and performance. It will be led by Spymonkey artistic directors Aitor Basauri and Toby Park, associate practitioner Sophie Russel and producer Emily Coleman.

The course aims to build a strong ensemble dynamic, to encourage participants to go further and deeper into the work to explore new areas of comedic investigation, and to inspire and initiate new creative material and performing relationships that we hope will go on to flourish into the full glory of performance!

There will also be an opportunity to look at the basics of how to build a sustainable performing arts business, with sessions on fundraising, budgeting and tour booking led by our executive producer.

CEO Amanda O'Reilly says ‘WTM constantly endeavours to bring the best in arts and heritage to our community, creating shared experiences that entertain, educate and inspire. We are thrilled that this partnership allows us to bring a fantastic creative opportunity to Worthing. The course will offer emerging and professional performers the chance to learn from internationally renowned artists and develop their skills and inspire future work.

This year Spymonkey have invited our friend and associate artist Sophie Russell to join us as guest tutor. Sophie has a long association with Spymonkey, having co-created and performed Spymonkey’s Christmas Carol, Mrs Hudson and Every Last Trick. She uniquely straddles the worlds of physical comedy, clown and contemporary theatre practice - she was most recently seen at Shakespeare’s Globe in the leading Shakespearean roles of Richard III, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Bottom in Midsummer Nights Dream, and as part of the original cast of Emilia. Spymonkey have always found huge comedic inspiration in theatre, and in particular great acting. Shakespeare represents a rich source of theatre - not only for the beauty of his  language but also universal human themes, enduring characters and situations that chime with every age. Great theatre calls for Great Actors. And in attempting that greatness spymonkey create really funny work. Sophie will explore how ‘serious’ actor training can lead us to be finer comedy performers.

The course is aimed at emerging and professional performers of intermediate and advanced levels of experience, 18+. Previous participation in a Spymonkey course will be an advantage but is not a requirement of the course.

Find out more about Spymonkey's three week Clown Creation School and book on there website: www.spymonkey.co.uk

Open21 Artists Q&A – Élodie Brooks
Open21 Artists Q&A – Élodie Brooks

Open21 Artists Q&A – Élodie Brooks

Currently on display within Worthing Museum is our Open21 Exhibition that offers all those within our community an exciting opportunity to exhibit their artwork within a distinguished gallery space. 

Entries were open to amatuer and professional artists, of all ages, from across Sussex. Resulting in over 500 pieces being submitted. From these, 158 artworks were chosen by our panel of judges. Open21 includes a huge range of work with diverse and contrasting styles, using many different mediums; such as 3D sculpture and photography, alongside work in acrylic, oil, pencil and pen.

One submission chosen to be on display within exhibit was artist Élodie Brooks' painting the 'Raccoonalisa'. 

We asked Élodie a series of questions to find out what inspired her to create her iconic Open21 submission!

Élodie Brooks - Raccoonalisa

Can you tell us more about the inspiration for your Open21 artwork?
I really love raccoons and I lost my raccoon teddy a while ago, so I wanted to paint one for
my bedroom.

What process, materials, techniques, etc. did you use to create your Open21 submission?
I did an outline in pencil on the canvas then I used acrylic paints for the picture, I used
different brushes for the fur to make it look fluffy. For the whiskers and the top of the ears I
used a white Posca pen and to make the eyes pop out, I did a little dab of white - I think it
makes it look more alive!

Élodie Brooks - Raccoonalisa

When people view this artwork, what do you want them to experience and think about? Is
there a connection between your message and the way you make art?
I want to people to look at it and to love raccoons as much as I do. I want them to think the
Raccoonalisa is looking at them.

What is your background? How did that inform your artwork?
I am 9 now, I was 8 when I did the painting and I really love art and drawing, with my friend
Ann (Ann Deickmann), who encouraged me to submit my work, as she was submitting hers too.

Élodie Brooks - Raccoonalisa

Are there specific subjects or themes you return to regularly within your art? If so, are they
evident in your Open21 piece or is this style new to your repertoire?
I love to draw and paint animals from the jungle and the forest. I am starting to learn how to
draw humans and I like the Manga style.

Who are your biggest artistic influences?
I learnt about the artist Henri Rousseau and his paintings are really cool.

The Open21 Exhibition is open to the public at the Worthing Museum in the Main Gallery and Norwood Landing until Sunday 13 Feb 2022 and is FREE for visitors to come and see.

Interview with Mojisola Elufowoju about Here’s What She Said To Me
Interview with Mojisola Elufowoju about Here’s What She Said To Me

Interview with Mojisola Elufowoju about Here’s What She Said To Me

Here's What She Said To Me follows Agbeke, Omotola and Aramide; African women connecting with each other over two continents, across time and space. Their history is spread between Nigeria and the UK, from the 60s to the present. Together they share their struggles, their joys, tragedies and broken dreams in order to find healing in the present. 

This empowering and joyous live theatre production is coming to the Connaught Studio, Thu 10 February at 7:30pm. Read the following interview with Mojisola Elufowoju, Utopia's Artistic Director for Here's What She Said To Me to find out more.

What can audiences expect from Here’s What She Said to Me? 

A family saga that begins in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1957, three years before the nation’s independence. We see three actors travelling between Nigeria and the UK, through the next six decades and playing three women down the generations, switching fluidly from direct address to dialogue, from English to Yoruba, and incorporating dance, song and mime in thrilling ways and switching between a panoply of family members around them, from inspiring grandmothers and stern husbands to spirited daughters whose confidence and hope, as girls, is yet unbroken. Oladipo Agboluaje’s script captures the women’s romances, achievements and dashed hopes.

Where did the inspiration for Here’s What She Said to Me come from?

Here’s What She Said To Me is deeply rooted in true events. It was first born out of conversations between me (Mojisola Elufowoju – Utopia Artistic Director) and my daughter. We realised how little communication we would share around certain areas of our lives, that this selective silence was something I had in turn experienced with my own mother and that by not learning from one another’s challenges, mistakes and trauma we are unable to create new paths for the next generation. To break this silence, I went on to tell my story and that of the women in my family to playwright, Oladipo Agboluaje.

What has the rehearsal and creative process been like for Here’s What She Said to Me over the last year?

It’s been full of challenges. We take it one day at a time and we are always appreciative of the fact that It is a luxury to have the opportunity to make theatre in the current climate. With the uncertainty around the rising Covid cases, every day that actors and creatives make it into rehearsals with a negative test is a blessing and we continue to ride on the hope that we will get to create a piece of work we are proud of and that we have the opportunity to share with our audiences.

What do you think audiences will take away from Here’s What She Said to Me?

A heartfelt and humbling story brought to life on an almost bare stage. An experience of total theatre where music and movement become metabolised within the story.

What first drew you to becoming a theatre director and founding your own theatre company?

I’ve had a passion for theatre from a very young age. Having gone to drama school and performed in a few plays, I realised that I am not in favour of the limelight and most importantly, I don’t like learning lines, directing seems to be the next best option.

I set up Utopia Theatre in 2012. The vision for setting up the company came from the need to see representation on stage, and to see a different kind of work produced. It was a vision and commitment to see myself on stage. I began making work with some of the people I graduated with. This began a journey towards a series of partnerships and opportunities.

Last year Utopia Theatre launched a series of rehearsed readings of African plays online. how does it feel to be returning venues?

It feels great to be back in rehearsals and especially having this opportunity to take the show to venues outside of Sheffield. It is our biggest tour ever and we are very excited by the opportunity.

Here's What She Said To Me is at the Connaught Studio on Thursday 10 February 2022, 7:30pm. Book Tickets now at www.wtm.uk/heres-what-she-said-to-me or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Open21 Artists Q&A – Steve Carroll
Open21 Artists Q&A – Steve Carroll

Open21 Artists Q&A – Steve Carroll

Currently on display within Worthing Museum is our Open21 Exhibition that offers all those within our community an exciting opportunity to exhibit their artwork within a distinguished gallery space. 

Entries were open to amatuer and professional artists, of all ages, from across Sussex. Resulting in over 500 pieces being submitted. From these, 158 artworks were chosen by our panel of judges. Open21 includes a huge range of work with diverse and contrasting styles, using many different mediums; such as 3D sculpture and photography, alongside work in acrylic, oil, pencil and pen.

Out of all the artwork on display, 9 were shortlisted by our panel of judges. The overall winner of the Open21 Exhibition was artist Steve Carroll with his painting 'Mirkwood'. 

In this Q&A, we asked Steve a series of questions about his Open21 submission, aiming to gain an insight into what inspired him to create Mirkwood. 

Steve Carroll - Mirkwood

Can you tell us more about the inspiration for your Open21 artwork?

The painting ‘Mirkwood’ was painted on the spot where the plantation intersects with Goring Gap. I love painting outside and capturing the mood of a place and an occasion. I exaggerated the colours just like Van Gogh or Gauguin would have done. I wasn’t too pleased with this painting, so the following day I went back and did another one, but decided I preferred the first one.

What process, materials, techniques, etc. did you use to create your Open21 submission?

I used oil paint on canvas. I usually start by drawing the composition out in ultramarine blue, then adding complimentary colours. I exaggerate colour so that if the forest floor has a reddy-brown hue I paint it strong red. Shadows are blue and the areas where the sunlight was entering the plantation, I paint yellow. I always start with a brush and often finish off areas with a palette knife. If I feel a part does not need over-working, like the tangled blue tree in the distance, then I leave it as the original sketchy painting.

Steve Carroll - Mirkwood

When people view this artwork, what do you want them to experience and think about? Is there a connection between your message and the way you make art?

When I was at art college, one of my tutor’s said of my paintings that they worked best when I just ‘visually reacted’ to something. There is no message in this painting beyond the joy of nature and colour. I am just visually reacting.

What is your background? How did that inform your artwork?

My background is in graphic design, and I have created a lot of graphic images of Sussex, but I wanted to move back to painting – my first love. However, I do feel there is still a graphic element to the strong areas of colour in my paintings.

Are there specific subjects or themes you return to regularly within your art? If so, are they evident in your Open21 piece or is this style new to your repertoire?

With painting I try to work outdoors. People may think my work doesn’t look a whole lot like the scenes I paint, but I am informed by them. I cannot abstract elements from imagination as well as I can from nature. I find nature throws up such incredible invention.

Steve Carroll - Mirkwood

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

My first influences were the Impressionists, but I soon became enthralled by the German Expressionists, especially the Die Brücke movement. I think my work is somewhere between Fauvism and Expressionism. I also love the British Neo-Romantic artists. If I was forced to name a favourite artist, it would be Graham Sutherland. One must remember that looking at and creating art are two entirely different processes. I like anything from Medieval altarpieces to conceptual art, but I am inspired to paint by a much narrower group of artists.

Where can people find you online?

My graphic work is on my website stevecarrollssussex.com I haven’t put up a website of paintings yet, but you can contact me on stevecarroll3@me.com 

In response to his success, Steve said "It was a shock and an honour to be named overall winner at the Worthing Open21 Exhibition, especially because the standard of work exhibited was so high."

The Open21 Exhibition is open to the public at the Worthing Museum in the Main Gallery and Norwood Landing until Sunday 13 Feb 2022 and is FREE for visitors to come and see.

Interview with Rob Brydon
Interview with Rob Brydon

Interview with Rob Brydon

Actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter, singer and writer Rob Brydon talks us through his new show - A Night of Songs & Laughter. In previous shows Rob has displayed his fantastically funny stand-up and dazzling array of impersonations; but this time he'll be treating audiences to his superb singing, accompanied by a very talented 8-piece band. The show promises to be a very special night out!

Rob first broke through on TV with such excellent and original programmes as Marion and Geoff, Human Remains and The Keith Barret Show. He went on to gain a huge following from such widely adored comedies as Gavin and Stacey, Would I Lie to You and The Trip.

But for all his success on TV, Rob has been yearning for a return to his live roots. "Live comedy is such a buzz. People come just to see you. Sometimes you stand on stage thinking, 'Good God, these people have all gone to the trouble of paying a babysitter and chosen to come and watch my show.' That's a very special feeling."

Explaining in more depth, he goes "It feels very natural to me. Sometimes people say, 'I can't imagine getting up on stage and performing. It would be so terrifying.' But you don't choose that life – it's almost a calling, something you just have to do."

"I feel very comfortable on stage, and that grows over time. The more you get used to it, the more it becomes your norm. I like to entertain people and make them laugh. It's a real privilege. As with a lot of things, you appreciate that more as you get older. You stand there on stage and think, 'Wow, this is great!'"

Since appearing in a school production of Guys and Dolls, Rob has always loved singing. In 2009, alongside Ruth Jones, Robin Gibb, and Sir Tom Jones, he reached number one in the charts with the single Islands in the Stream, in aid of Comic Relief. 

For all that, Rob is well aware that some people might still be taken aback by what they perceive as a change of tack with A Night of Songs & Laughter. "It will take some people by surprise. There are so many media outlets nowadays that some people might only know me from Gavin and Stacey or Would I Lie To You? Those people often say to me, 'I didn't know you could sing', and yet I have sung a lot. I hope this show is a very pleasant surprise for audiences." 

A BAFTA nominated actor who has also starred in such acclaimed films as 24-Hour Party People and Blinded by the Light, Rob continues that, "At the end of the day, I'm there to entertain people. I recently went to see Jeff Goldblum play with his band. That was wonderful. That guy was just there to entertain people. He played his songs, but he did lots of other things as well, like film quizzes. The show followed no rulebook. I found that very liberating and quite instructive. It showed me that you don't have to follow the rules. You can make the show whatever you want it to be. So that's what I've done with A Night of Songs & Laughter'"

Rob, who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff before moving to a job at BBC Wales, reveals that A Night of Songs & Laughter will recount his life story through a series of anecdotes and songs by such artists as Paul Simon, George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

The performer, who possesses a beautifully rich singing voice, explains that, "I go back to my childhood. I was 16 and starting to get interested in girls, but I was always pining from afar. In my teens I lived in Porthcawl, a coastal town in Wales, and all the cool boys were surfers. I wasn't a surfer. I had a go once, but I hurt my knee."

In addition, "My musical taste was never considered cool. I never set much store by stuff being fashionable. I loved David Bowie and The Police, but also Shakin' Stevens and Cliff Richard, which not many boys of my age did. Well, not the ones sitting at the back of the bus!"

"I would see Neanderthals from my class with their arm around a girl at the school disco and think, 'How did he manage that? He can't string a sentence together and now it looks as if they're setting up home together'. I talk a lot about my bemusement that girls were going out with those boys. At the time, Joe Jackson's song, 'Is She Really Going Out with Him?' was a big hit, and I sing a bit of that by way of illustration."

Rob wraps up by expressing what he hopes audiences will take away from A Night of Songs & Laughter. "I hope people will come out happier than when they went in because they've had such a great time. I hope they will have forgotten about the world for two hours. Especially considering the last year we have all had.

"As a performer in the last few years, you can really feel that people just want to escape. It's tangible. People come up to you afterwards and say, 'I'm so glad you didn't talk about the state of the country or the current US President.' My show is an escape. It's a service. People want to go out and be entertained. In times of adversity, which you could definitely say we are in now, people want that more than ever."

Never more than a minute away from the next joke, Rob adds with a wry grin: "Of course, if the box office is still open, a percentage of the audience will be looking for a refund, I don't doubt that. I can only hope that the more forgiving among them will draw a line in the sand and put it behind them!"

A Night of Songs & Laughter is at the Assembly Hall on Thursday 03 February 2022, 7:30pm. For more info go to www.wtm.uk/RobBrydon or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Open21 Artists Q&A – Anne White
Open21 Artists Q&A – Anne White

Open21 Artists Q&A – Anne White

Currently on display within Worthing Museum is our Open21 Exhibition that offers all those within our community an exciting opportunity to exhibit their artwork within a distinguished gallery space.

Entries were open to amatuer and professional artists, of all ages, from across Sussex. Resulting in over 500 pieces being submitted. From these, 158 artworks were chosen by our panel of judges. Open21 includes a huge range of work with diverse and contrasting styles, using many different mediums; such as 3D sculpture and photography, alongside work in acrylic, oil, pencil and pen.

Curious to know of the inspiration that went on behind these visually stunning pieces, we asked artist Anne White to delve deep into her Open21 submissions and allow us to understand where her 3 sculptural pieces come from.

Anne White - Swell

Can you tell us more about the inspiration for your Open21 artwork? 

The inspiration for the three works on show at the Open21 was a continuation of a theme I was researching during my fine art master’s degree at Chichester University. A body of work I titled, ‘In one end, out the other’. My work has always had a domestic aesthetic and during my studies I was inspired by an account in Bill Bryson’s book, ‘At Home – A Short History of Private Life’, that talked about chamber pots being stored in sideboards in dining rooms and kettles doubling as bedpans in bedrooms.

Inspired and fascinated by these objects, I started collecting blue and white enamelware which consisted of bowls and dishes used at one end of the body and urinals, potties, and bedpans, used at the other end. Whilst researching these opposing groups of objects, I found many similarities in form, colour, material, and surface that fascinated me. But by placing these objects together, the boundaries between these opposite groups created an uncomfortable abject feeling. The abject, as the philosopher Julie Kristeva suggests, is “both repellent and seductive”, it draws you in, you want to look but you also don’t. It is this abject feeling that I wanted to play with in this body of work.

Anne White - Untitled, (bedpan with jug)
Anne White - Untitled, (bedpan with jug)

What process, materials, techniques, etc. did you use to create your Open21 submission?

Two of my pieces in the exhibition titled ‘Untitled, (bedpan with jug)’ and ‘Jugs’, use a textiles techniques called Canadian smocking, that stitches the silk velvet from the back using a grid pattern, so that from the front of the fabric is gathered in repeated fold formations.

The third piece, titled ‘Swell’, although also stitched textiles, has more of a connection to pattern cutting, stitching repeated pieces together to create a concertina effect. One common theme that all three stitched textiles’ have, is that they all contract; they are all stitched so that they decrease and contract in size. This is a deliberate process used to connect the work to the human body, which also contracts and expands when we consume and expel food and drink.

Anne White - Jugs

When people view this artwork, what do you want them to experience and think about? Is
there a connection between your message and the way you make art?

I want to draw the viewer in, to entice and seduce the view to take a closer look. I use the ceramic vessels as a metaphor for the human body and hang the work in direct relation to specific heights of the body; as in the ‘jugs’ piece, which is meant to be hung at chest height. ‘Jugs’ consists of a pair of Spode cream jugs encased in stitched silk velvet. They hang empty, yet contained, showing only the inside, the stitched velvet also suggests something precious.

What is your background? How did that inform your artwork? 

I work full time as a textile’s technician in the fine art department at Chichester University, where I also did my BA and MA degrees in Fine Art. I am also a daughter to an ageing parent, a mum of
two, a granny to two and a wife and I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, especially to make art! During the first lockdown, I took the opportunity to re visit many of the pieces that I started during my MA and never managed to finish, these are the pieces that I submitted into the Open21 exhibition.

Who are your biggest artistic influences? 
I am influenced by a large range of artists in all kinds of mediums and regularly go to galleries and museums for inspiration. However, I have always loved Mona Hatoum, Louise Bourgeois, Susan McMurray and Do Hu Soh’s work, to name just a few, who all manage to combine the perfect mix of materials, process and meaning and produce work that allows the viewer to have a two-way
conversation.

Where can people find you online? 
annewhiteartist.co.uk





The Open21 Exhibition is open to the public at the Worthing Museum in the Main Gallery and Norwood Landing until Sunday 13 Feb 2022 and is FREE for visitors to come and see.

WTM Pantomime Cast Releases Music Video for Charity
WTM Pantomime Cast Releases Music Video for Charity

WTM Pantomime Cast Releases Music Video for Charity

Current star of WTM’s Christmas pantomime Beauty and The Beast, Katie Pritchard has released a music video for the festive anthem, Wouldn't Be a Christmas Without Panto. This was created and filmed pre-Covid with the full cast of WTM’s 2019 production, Cinderella. Including castmates CBBC presenter, Naomi Wilkinson and member of international boyband A1, Mark Read. It’s now released to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

The story of how the song and video were created is a testament to the magic of this great Christmas tradition. Katie (Fairy Godmother), Naomi (Cinderella), Mark (Prince Charming) and the entire team behind WTM’s Cinderella all bonded throughout the production, with many backstage antics and shenanigans. It was on one such day they started to play around with the concept of a song all about their shared love of panto which became, as Katie puts it, ‘a fun idea that just got out of hand!

https://youtu.be/13TbEWRHNbs

The three developed the idea between shows, with vocals recorded on VoiceNote backstage, or at Naomi’s digs in Worthing. In fact at this point, all recordings were jokingly titled Christmas No 1 - aiming for the stars, as they should! It was a totally organic process that began to snowball once Mark took the recording from their GarageBand mix and mastered it in his at-home studio. Katie even added saxophone to the track in her dressing room at our beloved Pavilion Theatre!

Next came the creation of the music video which Naomi storyboarded around the theatre, and everyone in the production got involved. There are plenty of familiar faces in the video; not just the stars of the show but WTM’s Technical team through to the Front of House staff. The whole experience of putting on a pantomime is extraordinary; as Katie says, ‘there’s always a trick involved’ - high-wires, pyrotechnics, the incredible costumes - so they wanted to pull back the curtain just enough on some of these fantastical elements, but not ruin the magic of panto.

After the show’s run, the cast remained firm friends but went their separate ways without releasing the video, and that’s when Covid-19 took full effect, writing off any chance of a Christmas pantomime in 2020. Katie, Naomi and Mark reflected on how much they missed the process, and how important it was to so many children. They wanted to do something to recognise the loss to families all over the country, and their music video was the answer. Releasing it and raising funds for a fantastic organisation: Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSH).

The dedicated teams at GOSH deliver world-class care and work around the clock to find the treatments to ensure seriously ill children have the best chance of getting home to their families. For those children whose treatment needs continue over the festive season, they go above and beyond to bring the magic of Christmas to the wards. There are decorations, Christmas music fills the corridors and every child wakes up to presents at the end of their beds. Father Christmas himself even pays a visit!

By buying and streaming Wouldn't Be a Christmas Without Panto, you’ll help fund the hospital’s most urgent needs to help get seriously ill children one step closer to home. These include medical technology, pioneering research programmes and family support services that help children feel safe and calm during their treatment. Katie says the song itself is ‘just supposed to be fun and make you feel nice’, which everyone deserves to feel over the festive period.


Original song composed, produced & performed by Katie Pritchard, Mark Read & Naomi Wilkinson. Featuring the cast of Cinderella at the Worthing Pavillion Theatre. Watch the video for Wouldn't Be a Christmas Without Panto: youtu.be/13TbEWRHNbs Proceeds from the sales of this track will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital: www.gosh.org/

See Katie Pritchard as Crêpe Suzette in Beauty and The Beast: The Pantomime at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing. Produced with Paul Holman Associates (PHA): wtm.uk/panto/

WTM Christmas Community Campaign
WTM Christmas Community Campaign

WTM Christmas Community Campaign

We are thrilled to be able to offer a total of 360 tickets for 90 local families to come along to a performance of Beauty and the Beast: The Pantomime. Families for which this would otherwise not have been possible can now experience an evening of fun and enjoyment together. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to our sponsors who have made this possible: 


'Egalite provide care and support to local people and are delighted to have the opportunity to make a difference to a family this ChristmasDebbie Clark, Egalite

'Lancing Prep Worthing is proud to support WTM. Our caring school community is happy to help sprinkle a little Christmas magic for families in our local area.' Heather Beeby, Head

We are delighted to support WTM with its campaign to make this a happier Christmas for families in our town.” Matt Jacobs, Managing Director of Jacobs Steel

'South Downs Education Trust is pleased to sponsor the WTM Christmas Campaign 21. Two of our schools are based in the Worthing locality: Worthing High School and Clapham and Patching C of E Primary School and we are delighted to have this opportunity to support local families.' Karen Hayler

'Heavy Gretel is thrilled to support WTM in this brilliant initiative to help local families get together and enjoy pantomime! We have always been fans of theatre and going to the pantomime is such a brilliantly absurd form of performance! A uniquely British Christmas tradition - we hope that the local families who benefit from this initiative will enjoy it and most importantly have a good laugh!'  Hanna Mawbey

Greenfingers was pleased to be able to show our support for WTM and the Christmas Community Campaign.

This year more than any needs to end with some festive laughter which I’m sure the panto will certainly bring!Rachel, Greenfingers Florist

“We are proud to be supporting WTM & their work within the community this Christmas. In what can be a tough time for many, we are committed to supporting the families of Worthing in any way we can this Christmas” Andy Apostolakis, Senior Branch Manager

Pleased to support WTM in helping bring the fantastic experience of live theatre to all in the Worthing communityBen Cheal, Managing Director

'Worthing Audi, supporting WTM and the local community.' Mark Dunn

“Shoreham Port, as a community Trust Port, is delighted to contribute to WTM’s fantastic Christmas initiative”

Worthing Theatres and Museum is a unique arts and heritage charity consisting of four theatres, a cinema, a museum and gallery all positioned within the heart of the town of Worthing in West Sussex. Find out more about how you can support WTM here.

Monstrous fun at the Pavilion Theatre this Christmas!
Monstrous fun at the Pavilion Theatre this Christmas!

Monstrous fun at the Pavilion Theatre this Christmas!

Beauty and the Beast: The Pantomime kicked off with a bang last week at the Pavilion Theatre! With spell-binding scenery, glittering costumes and dazzling special effects combined with plenty of audience participation and huge helpings of laughter.

Starring Strictly Come Dancing Robin Windsor as Gaston, Britain's Got Talent's Jai McDowall as the Beast, Emmerdale's Sapphire Elia as Belle and Panto veteran Andre Vincent as Dame Cheri Trifle. Also keep an eye out for returning favourites Dani Hardy, Ross Muir and Katie Pritchard, this year joined by on stage twin Josh Haberfield. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvOUazFAy_0

Reviews:

'A fun, loud, belly laughing show that did not disappoint' Rachel Jess

'...all of the performers are incredibly talented. We very much enjoyed our night at the pantomime and I would definitely recommend Beauty and the Beast in Worthing this Christmas.' Jennifer's Little World

'This production of Beauty and the Beast: the Pantomime is proving to be a truly magical event … for all ages. It manages to provide everything you’d hope for as the ultimate in complete entertainment...' Gill Ranson, Theatre South East 

'The audience participation was brilliant, the cast got everybody moving, shouting and laughing!' Shannon Lane, Sussex Local




















Beauty and the Beast: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Friday 26 November 2021 – Sunday 2 January 2022. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206

Culture Recovery Fund Round 3
Culture Recovery Fund Round 3

Culture Recovery Fund Round 3

Worthing Theatres and Museum (WTM) are thrilled to announce that we've been awarded £98,000 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund third round, aimed at supporting cultural organisations as they continue to provide arts and heritage to local communities.

We're among 925 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund. Indeed, more than £100 million has been awarded to hundreds of cultural organisations across the country in the latest round of support, the Culture Secretary announced today. It will support organisations from all corners of the sector as they deal with ongoing reopening challenges, ensuring they can thrive in better times ahead.

This grant will not only enable us to continue delivering on an exceptional programme, but will allow us to further build confidence in audiences for whom the pandemic is an ongoing barrier to experiencing live arts and heritage events. Investment will go into increasing WTM’s visibility and engagement in the local Worthing area, and developing our performance spaces to be as comfortable and welcoming as possible for our audiences.

WTM’s upcoming programme speaks to our drive to offer world-class live shows, cinema screenings and Museum projects, as well as special community-led arts and heritage projects, in Sussex. Examples include stellar theatre such as Peter James' Looking Good Dead, outstanding family shows like Zog and the Flying Doctors, as well as a triumphant return to Worthing from dance group, BalletBoyz, with many more to come. We're dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive programme for Worthing and Sussex as a whole.

Over £1.2 billion has already been awarded from the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, supporting around 5,000 individual organisations and sites across the country ranging from local museums to West End theatres, grassroots music venues to festivals, and organisations in the cultural and heritage supply-chains.

Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries said:

Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are and where they’re from. Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.’

WTM CEO, Amanda O'Reilly said:

We are delighted to have received a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund Round 3. The funding will allow us to continue our work to enable everyone to access arts and heritage by creating shared experiences that entertain, educate and inspire; ensuring our vision to enrich people’s lives through arts and heritage. Specifically the funding will support our work to communicate and engage with our community as we emerge from the pandemic and welcome audiences back into our venues. It will allow us to champion inclusivity, cultivate creativity and offer access to exceptional arts and heritage in the heart of Worthing; developing and showcasing a unique innovative programme that will surprise and delight our audiences.'

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:

This continued investment from the Government on an unprecedented scale means our theatres, galleries, music venues, museums and arts centres can carry on playing their part in bringing visitors back to our high streets, helping to drive economic growth, boosting community pride and promoting good health. It’s a massive vote of confidence in the role our cultural organisations play in helping us all to lead happier lives.’

As a charitable organisation, WTM relies on the generosity and support of the community and their audiences. If you would like to find out more about how you can support WTM today, please visit www.wtm.uk/support 

WTM celebrate their second anniversary as an independent charity
WTM celebrate their second anniversary as an independent charity

WTM celebrate their second anniversary as an independent charity

Worthing Theatres and Museum became an independent charity on 1st November 2019. Over the last two years we have continued to deliver our mission to enable everyone to access arts and heritage by creating shared experiences that entertain, educate and inspire. Bringing you an exceptional programme of events, exhibitions and films, as well as engaging community projects including Worthing Creates, the Digital Open20, Cutting Edge and We Are Worthing outdoor exhibition at the Pavilion Theatre.






CEO Amanda O’Reilly saysWe want to take a moment to celebrate the work of the last two years and say thank you to our audiences for their continued support. Despite the challenging circumstances we are thrilled that our vision to enrich people’s lives through arts and heritage is still very much on track'.

As always we have endeavoured to ensure that everyone has opportunities to access Arts and Heritage and have been working even closer with our community to develop our programme and produce projects such as Worthing Creates, the Digital Open20 and We Are Worthing Community Heroes exhibition that celebrate our community and everything they do.

Over the last year we have opened our venues at every opportunity afforded by government legislation and have welcomed audiences to see incredible events, exhibitions and films; including Rhum and Clay’s War of the Worlds at the Connaught Theatre, Hercule Van Wolfwinkles Pet Portraits in our Garden Gallery and James Bond in the cinema to name but a few!

This year also saw the return of Spin Out, our annual programme of free outdoor events. Which offered new and existing audiences the chance to engage with exceptional dance and circus pieces; including work from renowned circus company Ockham’s Razor, Aca Theatre, Inverted Theatre and incredible choreographer Joseph Toonga among many others.

While at Worthing Museum the biennial Open exhibition returned in its physical format celebrating an outstanding selection of work from amatuer and professional artists, of all ages, from across Sussex. With 160 pieces across 2 galleries, WTM’s Open21 exhibition runs from Saturday 2 October 2021 – Sunday 30 January 2022.

Looking forward, we have lots of amazing films, exhibitions and events coming up over the next year, and cannot wait to welcome new and existing audiences to enjoy the best of Arts and Culture in the heart of Worthing. We continue to focus on the safety of our audiences and staff. Not only are we following all government guidance, but have gone further introducing additional procedures, such as regular venue cleaning and fogging, staggered start times and the installation of a state of the art ventilation system in the Connaught and Pavilion Theatres.






As a charity WTM relies on the support of audiences to make our work possible enabling us to continue bringing you an exceptional programme of events, films and exhibitions in the heart of Worthing. You can support WTM today by:

Becoming a Member - By joining as a member you get exclusive access to priority booking, discounts and money can't buy experiences and are supporting WTM to bring the very best of arts and heritage to Worthing. Find out more about becoming a Member.

Making a donation -Your gift will bring amazing live events, exhibitions, films and so much more to the Worthing community. Help us continue to make memories in Worthing for years to come. Make a donation here

Buying a ticket - you can see our full line-up of live events, films, exhibitions and workshops here.

Introducing… Hannah James & Toby Kuhn
Introducing… Hannah James & Toby Kuhn

Introducing… Hannah James & Toby Kuhn

WTM is always working to bring the brightest and best shows, and our folk programme is no different. We’ve got a cracking line-up over the next few months with genre stalwarts and unique trailblazers alike. Enter Hannah James & Toby Kuhn; a creative musical pairing who’ll be bringing their fresh take on folk to the Pavilion Theatre Atrium on Tuesday 2 November, 7:30pm. With one week to go, we thought that introductions might be in order…

The duo are an award-winning musician and dancer from the UK (James), and an acclaimed French cellist (Kuhn). They met by chance at Floating Castle festival in Slovenia in the summer of 2018. Kuhn was so moved by James’ set that he sought her out and asked if she needed a cellist accompanist. At first she wasn’t sure she did but, as they say, the rest is history! They joined forces and began to create together, both sharing a common approach to music-making and a real artistic chemistry.

https://youtu.be/Tgt1jKDy5bc

James is an award-winning folk musician, dancer and composer. Known for her work with groups Lady Maisery, Maddy Prior, Sam Sweeney, Seasick Steve and Songs of Separation (with Eliza Carthy and Karina Polwart and more), she is a central figure in the modern UK folk scene. Her style is rooted in the English Tradition but enriched by collaborations with artists all over Europe. Her signature is a striking blend of accordion, vocals and clog dancing, which is an incredibly special and rare form of percussive dance.

Kuhn is a post-classical musician with a taste for improvisation and folk music of all persuasions, which he cherry picks on his travels. Always on the lookout for new ways to play his instrument, his unorthodox approach has won admiration and acclaim from Japan to Canada, and makes him the ideal partner to James.

Together, their music is original and conversational. Their combination of accordion and cello creates a wide palette of sounds and textures which lift James’ pure voice and deeply honest songwriting. They shift between soft soulfulness to, in the very next breath, choppy and joyful interplay. This duo delivers a diverse, playful performance, and one which is rarely seen in Worthing, making it a must for fans of new music.

https://youtu.be/ZLZhTFvLKbI

Catch the pair’s special mix inventive rhythms and soulful arrangements on Tuesday 02 November, 7:30pm at the Pavilion Theatre Atrium: www.wtm.uk/events/hannah-james-toby-kuhn/ 

Panto returns to Worthing this Christmas!
Panto returns to Worthing this Christmas!

Panto returns to Worthing this Christmas!

Filled with magic and monstrous fun, this tale as old as time is the perfect festive treat.

Bigger and better than ever before, Panto returns to Worthing this Christmas with Beauty and the Beast: The Pantomime; at the Pavilion Theatre from Friday 26 November 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022. Expect magic, sparkle and brilliant fun for family and friends alike.

Following the incredible success of 2019’s Cinderella: The Pantomime and 2020’s The Night Before Christmas, WTM and Paul Holman Associates have once again teamed up to bring you the marvel of pantomime. With a fantastic cast, laugh-out-loud comedy and all your favourite pantomime traditions, Beauty and the Beast promises to be Worthing’s most spectacular pantomime yet!

When a handsome Prince is transformed into a frightening Beast by an enchantress as punishment for his vanity, only true love will break the spell. Join Belle and her friends on this thrilling adventure as they discover that beauty is more than skin deep, and that we should always look beyond the surface to the heart that lies beneath.

With spellbinding scenery, glittering costumes and dazzling special effects - combined with plenty of traditional pantomime antics and audience participation - Beauty and the Beast is the family event of the season, and not to be missed! So head to the Pavilion Theatre to laugh and cheer, ‘boo’ the baddies and singalong to magnificent musical numbers. It’s a great night out for everyone and anyone who believes in the spirit of Christmas.






This year’s all-star cast features Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall starring as the Beast, alongside Emmerdale actress Sapphire Elia as Belle, and Strictly Come Dancing legend Robin Windsor in the role of Gaston. They will be joined by comedian and Panto veteran Andre Vincent in the role of Dame Cherie Trifle and Ross Muir as Professor Crackpot. Beauty and the Beast also sees the return of Cinderella favourite Katie Pritchard in the role of Crepe Suzette, joined by on-stage twin Josh Haberfield as Philippe Philoppe. Last but certainly not least, Pinocchio’s Dani Hardy returns to the Pavilion as the Enchantress.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-vFo973NFw

Beauty and the Beast: The Pantomime runs at the Pavilion Theatre from Friday 26 November 2021 - Sunday 2 January 2022. Tickets are available from £10. For more information or to book your tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206 206

Open21 Exhibition Celebrates Sussex Artists
Open21 Exhibition Celebrates Sussex Artists

Open21 Exhibition Celebrates Sussex Artists

We are thrilled that the WTM open has returned in its physical format! The exhibition runs from Saturday 2 October 2021 - Sunday 30 January 2022, in the Worthing Musuem’s Main Gallery and Norwood Landing.

With 160 pieces across 2 galleries, WTM’s Open21 showcases an outstanding selection of work from amatuer and professional artists, of all ages, from across Sussex. The exhibition includes a huge range of work with diverse and contrasting styles, and a variety of different mediums including 3D sculpture and photography, alongside work in acrylic, oil, pencil and pen. It’s this diversity that makes the exhibition entirely unique and a must visit in Worthing this winter.






Curator Emma Walder says ‘We were unsure what the response would be this year with all that has happened, as well as the change from using printed entry forms to online. So I was pleased to see that we had well over 500 entries this year, and the work delivered has been as varied and diverse as it always has. The communities’ creative spirit is still as strong as ever!

The selection day was as tough as always with many difficult decisions to be made by the judges who were artist Anthony Bennett, Carola del Mese (who was recently working with us as a historical metal conservator), and Joe Cox, (Creative Hub Assistant at Colonnade House – Worthing’s creative hub).

158 pieces of work were selected which is more than any previous open exhibition, and out of those 9 pieces were shortlisted by the judges and we felt that a further 2 pieces should also be selected as Curator’s choice. So I would encourage everyone to come and see this exhibition and be inspired to join us next time and enter the Open23. Regardless of whether your work is selected, the spirit and creativity is what really keeps this event and exhibition thriving.'

The Open21 exhibition opened with a fantastic private view event on Friday 1 October, it was wonderful to welcome so many amatuer and professional artists from across  Sussex into Worthing Museum and Gallery to celebrate this years brilliant submissions. Art Curator Emma Walder announced the Judge's Shortlist and Curator's choice winners, including overall winner Steve Carroll. The full shortlist can be seen here.


Click here to download the judge's shortlist

The Nature of Performance with Theatre Re
The Nature of Performance with Theatre Re

The Nature of Performance with Theatre Re

What are we looking for with a night at the theatre? To see something new, or be moved? Maybe just to have a laugh, or all of the above! Theatre can challenge our preconceptions and open us up to new ideas, and that’s exactly what Theatre Re are on a mission to achieve every time they come to the stage. 

Theatre Re are a company who address sensitive but essential life experiences, and translate these through the lens of performance. As Guillaume Pigé (Artistic Director of Theatre Re) said in conversation with The Edinburgh Fringe, ‘I think theatre is a very good training ground for what happens or what can happen in life; as if it provided a large scale dress rehearsal for life’.

This ability is put to use in their new show BIRTH - a fantastically moving piece of physical theatre which follows the life journey of Sue, Katherine and Emily. These are three generations of women from the same family who throughout the show explore secrets and share fundamental life experiences. It’s a concert with live music, and a wordless visual piece of dance with magical elements of illusion. It also deals with the taboo subject of child loss.

While the show is not wholly about the experience of child loss, the topic sparked an interesting line of interrogation in the company’s creative process. They initially focused on secrets within families and discovered the world of psychogenealogy, which recognises the parallels between our own lives and those of our ancestors, and how traumas might be subconsciously passed down like memories. This led the company to study their own family trees and one thing their histories all had in common was pregnancy loss. Interestingly, the idea of losing a child was also something that consistently came up in their improvisation sessions without ever intentionally looking for it. 

WTM audiences who saw Theatre Re’s fantastic production, The Nature of Forgetting will know that the company is rigorous when addressing a subject matter. Indeed, every time they start a new project, they collaborate with a wide range of theatre and non-theatre makers. While the previous show led them to investigate experiences of Dementia, BIRTH had a 16-month development period within which they collaborated with UCL Neuroscience Professor Kate Jeffery and Dr Graeme Forbes, lecturer in philosophy at the University of Kent. Both shared their views on the company’s original question: when does memory begin? These discussions fuelled their first steps towards creating the show. 

The company also undertook extensive interviews and workshops by collaborating with Anyone Everymum (organisation supporting women and families in their journey through birth) and later Aching Arms (a nationwide baby loss charity run by a group of bereaved mothers). Both offered an insight into what it means to lose a life and ensured that the show was, as Pigé puts it, ‘a faithful representation of what some women and families go through without being patronising nor sentimental’.

While in the UK an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth, this is not the central thesis of the show. Instead, it’s used to help people ask questions of another’s experience; how this can ‘help develop people’s empathy for those who have experienced such a loss. It will also be important to see how the work can have a cathartic impact on audience members who have, and then how that might help them start a discussion about it’. This show is about where memory begins, life, family and what it is that you inherit from your parents and grandparents. For Theatre Re, performance most importantly offers an avenue to express shared life experiences and talk openly about them. Even challenging or taboo ones. 

What will audiences come away feeling after a night of Theatre Re’s special brand of physical performance? Hopefully understanding the story of Emily’s family, and how the company has used everything they can to make it a heartbreaking, uplifting, at times humorous, and even life-affirming experience. Not only this but Pigé says, ‘I hope people come out of the theatre feeling uplifted and reminded about the beauty and extraordinary fragility of life’. We don’t think there’s much more one can ask of a night at the theatre.

Theatre Re’s BIRTH is at the Connaught Theatre on Friday 8 October 2021, 7:30pm. Tickets are available via www.wtm.uk/events/birth/ 

For more information on some of the subject matter explored in this article, support is available through www.achingarms.co.uk/  

The Making of POWER
The Making of POWER

The Making of POWER

POWER combines autobiographical content about a circus strong lady, with the extraordinary stories of ‘ordinary’ people. Coming to the Connaught Studio on the 10 November 2021, we hear how Charmaine Childs created her remarkable solo circus-theatre performance.

I asked this question to as wide a range of people as I could find: “can you tell me about a time when you felt really powerful?” Everyone’s first response was that they ‘wouldn’t have a story like that...’ but with a little exploration, everyone had an incredible story to tell. People are amazing.

I share these stories through a combination of voice over + circus/dance physicality + verbal storytelling. The voices of people and recorded interviews are integrated throughout the soundtrack. Working with an incredible composer (Matt Eaton), I have been able to interact with their voices in various ways; such as weaving between direct address to the audience as I tell their stories. I also let the voice over tell the story while I respond with physical storytelling in circus choreography. As well as interacting with their voices in moments of conversation between the voice overs and I.

My aim is that the people who see the show will begin telling each other their own stories, of finding power and growing strength. I was determined to include, in the show, as wide a range of voices and stories as possible - to increase the chance for everyone in the audience to see their own experience reflected, in some way. When people were interviewed, telling their story was a way of reframing themselves as powerful - I want to give the audience that same glow.

In the small tour of 2020, this is precisely what happened! After shows, audiences were telling their own stories. They had laughed, been moved, thought deeply and when asked for feedback about how the show had made them feel, they used words like: hopeful, inspired, uplifted, seen and strong.

Beyond including their stories in the show, the process of interviewing people has shifted the way that I am using circus physicality to perform the work. I had expected stories about shining moments of triumph over an obstacle - of being invincible and in control. I had planned to make a show where I used perfectly executed feats-of-strength to illustrate stories of power... The research, however, told an inconveniently different story. No single story made it entirely clear, but by inviting perspectives of so many different people, it showed a pattern of feeling powerful when we accept that we are in the mess, then choose to keep going, to get up again, to adapt. It revealed the strength and resilience we build when we wobble.

I had to rethink the way I use circus skills in the show. Instead of performing feats-of-strength with ease, I developed a circus physicality that highlights paradox of power as both control and struggle. Circus tricks were reimagined to become storytelling tools rather than spectacle. I have worked with a theatre director, dance choreographers and circus director to enhance the physical storytelling - incorporating hand balance, acrobatic movement, juggling, balancing, manipulating objects, and dance. As a strong lady, this show asked that I show the strength in being vulnerable - and the connection that creates with the audience is very exciting!

POWER is being shown at the Connaught Studio on the 10 November 2021. Book tickets now at www.wtm.uk/power or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Interview with Ben Duke about Juliet & Romeo
Interview with Ben Duke about Juliet & Romeo

Interview with Ben Duke about Juliet & Romeo

Juliet & Romeo reveals the real story of Romeo and Juliet. It turns out they didn’t die in a tragic misunderstanding; they grew up and lived happily ever after. Well, they lived at least... With Lost Dog’s blend of dance, theatre and comedy, this duet takes on our cultural obsession with youth and our inevitable issues with longevity.

The show is coming to the Connaught Theatre this November. Read the following interview with Lost Dog’s Artistic Director, Ben Duke to find out more.




Is this the story of what might have happened had Romeo and Juliet lived?

Yes. When I watch Romeo and Juliet I am always hoping that their timings will be a little different and Juliet will wake up a few moments earlier. I know she never will but I can’t help hoping for it. The idea for this piece came from allowing myself to imagine that alternate version. In this work they’ve been together about 25 years.

Are they happy and how do they feel about each other? 

At the point that this piece is set they are in something of a marital crisis. Basically, they love each other and sometimes they wish the other one were dead. The bloom of teenage romance has faded but it haunts them.

What inspired you to make it? 

A feeling that we aren’t that honest about relationships in our culture and that too many stories focus on how relationships start rather than how they continue.

Had you seen stage/film versions of the original before you made your piece? 

I have seen several versions. Baz Lurhman’s film version came out at a time when I was particularly impressionable and is lodged in my memory.




Describe their characters

Romeo is in the middle of a mid-life crisis and so his character is trying to re-shape itself. He is trying to let go of the passionate, over the top teenager he was and become a Man. But he doesn’t have any clear idea what that Man should look like so he is in limbo. Juliet is very attached to the extraordinary teenager she was and is finding the ordinariness of her current life a struggle.

Will the audience like them?

At times - if you had them round for dinner you would probably find them a little self-obsessed.

Tell us about casting and working with Solène

Solène is someone I first worked with when I made a piece called ’The Life and Times of Girl A' on Scottish Dance Theatre in 2010. She is a brilliant performer and someone I knew would be willing to spend time in the painful and ridiculous process that we went through.

And what do you hope audiences will take away with them after seeing the work?

A sense of realistic optimism about the state of their relationships - past, present or future.

Lost Dog’s Juliet & Romeo is at the Connaught Theatre on Friday 12 November 2021, 8pm. Tickets are available via www.wtm.uk/Juliet-Romeo

Q&A with Adrian Lukis
Q&A with Adrian Lukis

Q&A with Adrian Lukis

Adrian Lukis, who starred in the renowned BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, returns to the role of Mr Wickham this autumn. Coming to the Connaught Theatre on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 of October, Adrian delves deep into answering questions on the making of Mr Wickham.

What inspired you to revisit the character of Mr Wickham, 25 years after playing him in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice?

When I turned 60 a few years ago, I started to wonder what it would be like for a man such as Wickham, who has been a rake and a ne’er-do-well, surviving on his looks and his wits, to have to deal with getting older. So I started to look at it with Catherine Curzon, who is an expert on the historical side of things, and read everything about Wickham and Pride and Prejudice I could get hold of. I found myself discovering how much I enjoyed the process of researching and writing. Once I started it just went like a storm.

The details we have about his life from the novel are rather sketchy. How did you go about filling in the blanks?

Firstly I looked at the way he is described. For example, Darcy says he has led a dissolute life in London, so I thought ‘well what really happened?’ I’ve also made up stories based on the historical facts, and imagined an entire life for him above and beyond the book. At one stage he enters a private club and gets into a punch up, but it’s based on a real place called Watier's in St James’s. I also wanted to explore things such as what he really thinks of Elizabeth Bennet, what he really thinks of Lydia. These questions were really interesting to me.


Seeing as he’s portrayed by Austen as such a rogue, did you feel it was important to fight his corner?

Absolutely. My premise was that people don’t tend to see themselves through a bad lens, and there are always two sides to a story. I could have written him like Flashman - an out-and-out bounder who just doesn’t care - but something I took very strongly from the book was that Wickham is plausibly a nice man. He is always described as being charming and amiable, rather than someone who’s constantly plotting and twirling his moustache. He admits he does some bad things, but turns it on the audience and asks ‘have you led a blameless life’? Also, he makes the point that life would be very dull without any rogues. I’d much rather spend an evening with him than with Darcy!

How do you think he would be thought of in today’s society?

It’s an interesting question. He would probably be labelled in contemporary terminology a bit of a ‘player’, and I think we all know men like that. But you have to view him in the context of his time. In Austen’s day, men who were not the first son had to set their cap at a wealthy heiress. That was a social pressure that we don’t really have today. So for a man with looks and charm like Wickham it made sense to try his luck with women, rather than going into the clergy. It would certainly be different today, although I think we are living through a very moral period, much more so than when I was growing up in the ‘70s. So perhaps he would still be considered a scoundrel.

Original Theatre Company filmed the production in an empty theatre during lockdown for a live stream. How did you find that experience?

It was certainly interesting, but it was inevitably a bit cold just being surrounded by cameras and technicians. There is no replacement for a live audience, being able to look at them and say, ‘you think you know my story but I’m going to tell you differently.’ I like to try and bring what I can of Wickham’s wit and charm to the table, and a lot of that has to do with looking the audience directly in the eye, which of course you can’t do in a live stream.



What are your memories of playing Wickham the first time round? Did you have any idea the BBC series would become such a phenomenon?

No idea at all, I don’t think any of us did. We knew it was a big production, and I thought the script was terrific, but we had no inkling of whether it would be a success. In that sense it was just another job. I remember writing to Colin Firth shortly after it came out, when he’d gone off to do some filming in South America, and saying words to the effect of ‘you have no idea what's going on back home, this series has gone through the roof and you’re famous.’ That being said a few weeks later we went for a pint together in London, and I thought we would get absolutely mobbed - Darcy and Wickham out together - but nobody recognised us!

Now it is finding a whole new generation of fans thanks to iPlayer and Netflix.

Yes, people seem to love it, even if they weren’t born when it first came out. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a really lovely adaptation of the most wonderful novel. Many people come up to me and tell me they still watch it with their family every year, which is great.

Was acting something you always wanted to do? 

My father was in the Royal Marines and I was initially brought up in Australia, where I didn’t have much chance to try it out. But when I came to England in the 60s and was sent to public school, suddenly theatre was available to me and it was like being struck by a thunderbolt. I fell in love with it. My whole life soon became about being in school productions and when I was 17 I wrote my first play. At the time I thought I might be a playwright, so it’s nice I’m finally getting a chance to do it at 64!

You’ve clearly enjoyed the task of reimagining Wickham for the stage, but what do you think Jane Austen might make of it?

That depends on how you view her politics. She has been called all sorts of things, from a radical feminist to a staunch methodist. But I think it’s safer to assume she was something of a small ‘c’ conservative. So she probably would have disapproved of Wickham, and seen him as being a rather weak and vapid young man. But I hope if she was to see this production, she would say ‘good for you, you haven’t consigned him to the scrapheap and have found mitigating factors for his behaviour’.

Being Mr Wickham is at the Connaught Theatre on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 October 2021. Book tickets now via www.wtm.uk/BeingMrWickham or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Metal Conservation – The Edburton Hoard
Metal Conservation – The Edburton Hoard

Metal Conservation – The Edburton Hoard

Roman coins approx 10mm diameter

Investigative Conservation

In 2019 whilst studying metals conservation at West Dean college, Worthing’s Curator of Archaeology brought in a selection of 22 Roman coins found at an excavation on the South Downs. At this stage, not many objects had been excavated from the site, and it was thought that in ancient times inhabitants had deposited the coins at the site of a natural spring.

The site is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a Saxon settlement with watermills and light industry, however during Roman times it was already a busy and well populated area with villas, farms and villages.

A variety of Roman coins found at the Edburton excavation

Coins          

The study of currency is called Numismatics, and coins are found by detectorists and archaeologists very frequently, especially on the sites of ancient settlements. By identifying the coins, we can gain a wider understanding of timeline, who the inhabitants and local rulers were, who they traded with, local wealth, crafts and production and other relevant information. So, the chance to clean these coins for identification on a newly excavated site was very exciting.

Cleaning the Coins

The coins ranged from very good condition to very corroded, and the aim when cleaning, is to retain any detail for identification. As discussed in a previous post, the detail might be on the original surface if there is one, or within the corrosion, and in this case I began by taking an X-ray to ascertain the stability of the coins. Once this was done I could see any hairline fractures or internal voids created by corrosion so I knew where to be careful when cleaning. I began by using a brush and scalpel under a microscope and taking pictures of any detail I revealed as I went along.

In Roman coins, one would typically expect copper, silver, tin, lead, maybe iron and some other trace elements. However due to some unusual corrosion I noticed, I decided to also carry out elemental analysis to determine what they were made of. For this I used a portable XRF machine, (X-ray fluorescence) which releases a burst of X-rays onto a chosen area of the object, and gives us a reading which identifies the elements – in this case metals – of which the object is made. I used a Bruker portable XRF machine - find out more about this in the links below.

Analysis of the coins

The readings from the coins showed that there was an unusually high percentage of Lead present in many of the coins. Lead is usually found in small amounts within cast metal objects, as it makes casting easier, however 5 of the 22 coins contained more than 50% lead, some as high as 80%. The other most common elements in the readings were Copper, Tin, Iron and Silver. All the coins showed some Iron reading, some as much as 11% which would have been a deliberate inclusion in the alloy, but some as low as 0.2% which we can assume may have been an incidental ingredient or residues from the burial environment.

It is always a good idea to research the objects you are treating, so before making assumptions I researched the possibility that Romans did mint coins made from lead. This revealed that lead tokens were issued during Roman times, however not as currency, and the detail on this set showed that they intended to imitate currency.

Analysis of Metal Casting Waste

As mentioned above, the settlement is an ongoing excavation and as more objects were discovered, I had the chance to analyse them. James gave me a bag of corroded metallic pieces, none of which were magnetic or showing red/brown rust, meaning that none were iron. Some of them were clearly identifiable as metal drips which would have been lost or discarded waste created during metal casting, and showing us that metalwork was taking place in the area. Other pieces were evidently metal, but with a surrounding corrosion of grey and white flakes, which I suspected were lead or tin, or an alloy of similar white metals. We can make an educated guess at the metal, but until it is analysed we cannot say for definite what it is, and this may affect the treatment procedure.

Again, I used the XRF machine to gain a reading on 3 of the pieces which showed that one larger piece was 95% tin, and others up to 95% lead or an alloy of lead and tin. Since then, objects which look like coin blanks have also been excavated from the site. We have not had an opportunity to analyse them but it is probable that they are made of Lead. Added to the unusual base metal of the ‘coins’ previously analysed, one theory is that the inhabitants were forging Roman coins. This wasn’t unusual in ancient times, and you can find out more from the links below.

In this case, some of the least visually interesting discoveries – corroded lumps - have given us some very interesting information, allowing us to piece together the activities which took place in the settlement, and demonstrating perfectly how collaboration between conservators, archaeologists and amateur enthusiasts benefits our further understanding of the past.




Tin piece, lead coin blanks, lead casting waste



Roman coins approx 10mm diameter



Before and after coin 39_chart of percent concentrations of elements present



A variety of Roman coins found at the Edburton excavation



The Edburton Hoard
Conservation Information

Know More

XRF Machine - XRF is an acronym for x-ray fluorescence, a process whereby electrons are displaced from their atomic orbital positions, releasing a burst of energy that is characteristic of a specific element. This release of energy is then registered by the detector in then XRF instrument, which in turn categorises the energies by element. 

Read more here

Counterfeit Coins - Around 650 BCE, on the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea, coinage was invented. Very soon afterward, ancient counterfeiters and their counterfeit coinage appeared, and it has been with us ever since. Counterfeiting has been called the world’s “second oldest profession”.

Read more here


Conservation Overview

New September 21 – January 22 What’s On Guide!
New September 21 – January 22 What’s On Guide!

New September 21 – January 22 What’s On Guide!

We've released our new What's On Guide covering our packed programme from September 2021 - January 2022. You can read the digital version here or pick up a copy around Worthing or in the Connaught Cinema which will be reopening from Friday 17 September!








We have an exciting theatre programme over the next few months; including laughter-filled parody of the D.H. Lawrence novel Not: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Fri 17 Sep), Theatre Re’s powerful, poignant and uplifting Birth (Fri 8 - Sat 9 Oct) and the Original Theatre Company’s Being Mr Wickham (Thu 21 - Fri 22 Oct) with sees the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice’s roguish Adrian Lukis reprise his role as George Wickham. If you are looking for a fun night out we have Red Fox Theatre’s Catch of the Day (Sat 30 Oct) in the Pavilion Atrium, a madcap mix of comedy, immersive theatre, music and improv, a great night out for friends and family! Finally, Blackeyed Theatre return to Worthing with The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Thu 4 - Sat 6 Nov), a thrilling adaption of the classic tale that immerses you in the myth and mystery of 19th century London.

Our renowned circus programme features the incredible Luminosa (Sun 3 Oct), a brand new circus cabaret for the 21st Century, produced by Jacksons Lane in collaboration with Lost in Translation. Expect cutting edge aerial dance, jaw-dropping juggling, tipsy hoop swirling, live music and laughter. You could bring the whole family along to Little Luminosa (Sun 3 Oct) or if you are looking for a little more naughtiness, bizarity and burlesque why not book for Luminosa Late (Sat 2 Oct). Celebrate the ways we can feel powerful with Strong Lady Productions latest show Power (Wed 10 Nov) that combines circus physicality, voice-over soundtrack and storytelling. It is optimistic, uplifting, funny, physical and at times moving.








The dance programme features the incredible contemporary Lost Dog Dance’s Juliet and Romeo (Fri 12 Nov), that blends dance, theatre, and comedy to tell you the ‘real’ story of Romeo and Juliet. Alternatively you can get in the festive spirit and enjoy The Russian National Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Sun 28 Nov) or Swan Lake (Sun 28 Nov).

If you looking for laughs we've got plenty on offer with a line-up of big name comedians and something for everyone to enjoy! Including Josh Widdicombe (Thu 16 Sep), Bridget Christie (Thu 7 Oct), Sindhu Vee (Thu 11 Nov) and Milton Jones (Fri 19 Nov), to name just a few. The talks programme this season gives you a chance to learn more about a variety of topics from history to serial killers and the natural world. Ben Fogle will be at the Assembly Hall sharing his Tales from the Wilderness (Wed 29 Sept), while Dr Richard Shepard’s ‘Unnatural Causes’ (Wed 13 Oct) explores some of the renowned forensic pathologists most fascinating cases and An Evening with Brian Blessed (Sat 23 Oct) sees one of Britain’s loudest stars return to Worthing to recount his incredible life story.

The music programme features fantastic original artists and great live tributes. The Rheingans Sisters (Wed 6 Oct) kick off our music programme in the Pavilion Atrium with playful visionary folk music that is wholly contemporary while drawing from the well of musical knowledge passed down through generations. The programme continues with Barbara Dickson (Sun 10 Oct), Hannah James and Toby Kuhn (Tue 2 Nov) and Maximum R’n’B with the Manfreds (Sat 16 Oct). If you are looking for a fun night out after a year at home why not get your friend together and enjoy some disco classics with Lost in Music (Thu 4 Nov), the feelgood Sensational 60s Experience (Sat 6 Nov) or ever popular  That'll Be The Day Christmas Show (Thu 16 Dec). 








Not forgetting Panto! Panto is back bigger and better than ever, with an extra handful of glitter just for good measure. Starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Robin Windsor, Britain’s Got Talent Winner Jai Mcdowall, and Emmerdale's Sapphire Elia, Beauty & The Beast: The Pantomime will be at the Pavilion Theatre from Friday 26 November 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022. With spell-binding scenery, glittering costumes and dazzling special effects combined with plenty of traditional pantomime audience participation and huge helpings of laughter, Beauty and the Beast is the family pantomime not to be missed!

The museum has a diverse series of exhibitions alongside the permanent collections. The always popular Open Exhibition (Sat 2 Oct - Sun 30 Jan) features the work of amatuer and professional artists from across Sussex. While John Pull - Worthing's Hero Archaeologist (Sat 17 Jul - Fri 24 Dec) explores the life and discoveries of the renowned local archaeologist and William Hargood - Destiny at Trafalgar (Thu 16 Sep - Sun 30 Jan) highlights the fascinating life and history of a British naval officer during a tumultuous time in Britain’s history. 


For more information on all WTM events or to book tickets visit www.wtm.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206206.

A New Adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
A New Adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

A New Adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Find out more about Blackeyed Theatres thrilling new adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The show is at the Connaught Theatre Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 November 2021. Tickets are available online or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

Adaptation from novels is a popular method of creating new theatre. A new approach to a popular novel can allow those familiar with the work to enjoy it in a new medium and attract new audiences. Playwrights are able to add their own interpretation, shed new light on characters, often increasing the audience’s knowledge of minor characters and exploring existing themes in a new way. Adaptations will often modernise a classic tale, changing key details to appeal to new audiences, for instance setting the tale within a different era as many adaptations of Shakespeare’s work have successfully done.

Nick Lane’s decision to keep his Jekyll and Hyde in the late nineteenth century was a pragmatic one. “I felt that the 1890’s were perfect as the advent of neuroscience at that time fitted in with the medical and philanthropic angle I wanted to approach Dr Jekyll’s work from.




Some of the key differences between Nick Lane’s adaptation and Stevenson’s original include the exploration of minor characters as well as looking into why and how Dr. Jekyll reaches the point at which he is prepared to transform into Hyde. The breakdown of the friendship between Jekyll and Lanyon is explored extensively within the play and the character of Lanyon developed into a far more complicated man than within Stevenson’s novel.

Another key addition comes in the character of Eleanor, who provides a spur for Jekyll, pushing him on in much the same way as Stevenson’s wife urged her husband to complete the novel. The complexity added by the fact that Eleanor is engaged to someone else when she meets Jekyll is what provides the play with its doomed romantic angle. The character of Eleanor allows the audience to see Jekyll as a man rather than purely a scientist. She is a witness to much of the detail of Jekyll and Hyde’s secret, which in the novel is only discovered following Hyde’s demise. Scenes such as Hyde burning the chequebook after murdering the MP Sir Danvers Carew are given an additional dimension by Eleanor’s presence. In the novel this goes unseen.

In addition, Eleanor delivers Jekyll’s research to Utterson following the doctor’s death. This is quite a departure from the abrupt ending of the novel, in which – since the doctor’s work is purely selfish – only Jekyll’s confession is delivered to the lawyer. Here the idea is that the story of Jekyll and Hyde may continue, if Utterson finds a medical student capable enough to use what Jekyll has uncovered in the right way. Further, the child that Hyde has given Eleanor is an added complication, touching on themes of nature versus nurture.




Nick Lane comments that “the themes and title of Jekyll and Hyde are perhaps far more enduring and well known than the story itself. It’s a great piece to adapt from because there is the freedom to be creative and include new ideas within a very successful and structured narrative which Stevenson has provided.

There are parts of the play where the book is quoted directly (Enfield’s retelling of the story of the door is a good example). The non-chronological telling of the story is also seen within both the play (where characters recount past events) and the novel (where the story is revealed to Utterson in letters from Dr’s Lanyon and Jekyll after their deaths).

Jekyll and Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde it at the Connaught Theatre Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 November 2021. Tickets are available online or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

Being Mr Wickham – Interview with Guy Unsworth and Libby Watson
Being Mr Wickham – Interview with Guy Unsworth and Libby Watson

Being Mr Wickham – Interview with Guy Unsworth and Libby Watson

This autumn we welcome the Original Theatre company to the Connaught Theatre with their new production Being Mr Wickham. Adrian Lukis, who starred in the renowned BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, returns to the role of Mr Wickham and lifts the sheets on exactly what happened thirty years on from where we left him...

Find out more about the production from Director Guy Unsworth an designer Libby Watson in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBesmdsaDLM

Being Mr Wickham is at the Connaught Theatre on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 October 2021. Tickets are available now from www.wtm.uk/BeingMrWickham or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

5 Reasons to see Not: Lady Chatterley’s Lover
5 Reasons to see Not: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

5 Reasons to see Not: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

This September Shoreham based Happy Idiot Productions are bringing their latest hilarious production to Worthing! Not: Lady Chatterley's Lover - a parody of Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence is at the Connaught Theatre Friday 17 September 2022, with performances at 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Tickets are available online at www.wtm.uk/NotLadyChatterleysLover or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206.









1

A chance to re-live the classic novel, but in a fresh and comedic way that will make you laugh out loud.

2

The show has had a successful, acclaimed run at The Edinburgh Fringe.

3

Fun for all the family! The show features different styles of comedy that will entertain mum, dad, children (16+) and the grandparents, all in the same night.

4

An excellent script developed with the help of established theatre companies, Directors and actors such as Told by An Idiot, New Old Friends, Groundlings, Simon Godwin (National Theatre) and Laurence Pears (The Play That Goes Wrong).

Classically trained actors that bring truth to each dramatic moment and perfectly timed shifts into comedy.

Not: Lady Chatterley's Lover - a parody of Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence is at the Connaught Theatre Friday 17 September 2022, with performances at 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Tickets are available online at www.wtm.uk/NotLadyChatterleysLover or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

‘Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?’ – An interview with Jekyll & Hyde writer and director Nick Lane
‘Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?’ – An interview with Jekyll & Hyde writer and director Nick Lane

‘Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?’ – An interview with Jekyll & Hyde writer and director Nick Lane

Writer and director Nick Lane discusses Blackeyed Theatres latest production Jekyll & Hyde. Jekyll and Hyde it at the Connaught Theatre Thursday 4 - Saturday 6 November 2021. Tickets are available online or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

Jekyll & Hyde

Tell us about your new production of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde...
Well, it’s a small/mid-scale tour of an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic horror story but I’ve tried to put a twist on it. I was aware approaching the adaptation that people have certain preconceptions about the story, and I thought it might be fun to come up with something a bit different.

What inspired you to tackle this story?
I think the story itself, the original tale; it’s just brilliant. And after that, with the other adaptations that I’ve done, what’s always helped me to get into a story is finding a personal angle – in terms of Jekyll & Hyde, what intrigued me was looking at what the consequences would be if Jekyll was incredibly intelligent but physically weak, and Hyde was a really powerful man, albeit very cruel.

Some years ago I was in a car accident that permanently damaged my neck and back. I wondered, if someone offered me a potion that was guaranteed to make me feel the way I did before the accident, but with the side effect that I’d become ruthless and horrible – would I drink it? Would I make that trade? If I knew I could do it for a day then I suppose I might, but what if the feeling of being strong and healthy became an addiction?

It’s Pandora’s Box. You know the risks of something but would you do it? A butterfly wouldn’t want to become a caterpillar again because once it has wings it wants to fly. That’s the difference, as soon as you make Hyde the strong one, I wonder if he’d want to go back to being weak old Jekyll again. So it’s a question of “does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?”

What’s different about this production?
I suppose if you were to describe the original novel as a traditional horror story, this is an attempt to find a new way to scare the audience. It’s a small cast, so I’ve tried to ramp up the physicality, the claustrophobia and the menace. And ultimately I’d like the audience to go home with the questions facing Jekyll racing around in their minds.




How have you approached this adaptation?
Jekyll is a medical man, so I’ve gone down the route of looking at why Jekyll is exploring the ability to split the mind. In the book, Jekyll is just fascinated by his own nature; he wants to look at why good is good and evil is evil within him. What I wondered was, what if Jekyll was looking at splitting the mind to perhaps find a cure for schizophrenia or any other mental disorder? You have to remain true to the source material and in particular the spirit, themes and drive that the author of the source material wants to explore. Beyond that, I guess you look for opportunities within the text to explore other things, and I find that question of research versus morality fascinating.

You’ve been keen to set the book in the era it was originally written in. Was that a conscious decision or did you not want to make a modern adaptation?
I think the themes are strong enough to transcend any particular period so I thought it was natural to stay faithful to Stevenson’s vision. There is a slight shift – Stevenson wrote the book in the 1880s, but doesn’t specify what years of the 19th century the story covers. This play is set in the 1890s, simply because at that time a lot of interesting historical events which I felt I could draw on were taking place. That particular era was also regarded by many as the birth of modern neuroscience so I’ve placed Jekyll amongst genuine experts in that field, as if he too were a pioneer – albeit a very twisted one with results that were more than he bargained for.

You mentioned you were keen to look at the back-story. What challenges does this bring to you as a writer?
Initially it’s down to the research and ensuring the story you’ve made is consistent. The book edition of Jekyll and Hyde that I have is only 48 pages long, although the print is very small! The original idea is absolutely brilliant, and at the time must have been chilling, but for a modern audience who aren’t surprised by the revelation that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same, you have to work that bit harder to find something that might shock. Finding a good back-story actually presented me with a great opportunity to embellish the original text and add something that I hope Stevenson would approve of.




Within this production Jekyll and Hyde we see a lot of multi rolling – (sixteen characters are played by a cast of four). What made you decide to tell the story theatrically with a cast of just four?
It’s been my practice, my stock in trade, and Blackeyed Theatre has a tradition of telling stories with smaller casts. With a story like this it works really well. In the book Jekyll and Hyde are described as two different people, but generally adaptations have the same actor playing them.

There are stories you can’t tell with a small cast. I was given the option of what I wanted to adapt knowing the cast would be this size, so you have to find ways to tell those stories. I thought it would be nice to look at this story from a medical and philanthropic angle and to use multi-roling to our advantage because Jekyll and Hyde is the original multirole.

As a director how do you approach multi-roling with your actors?
There are lots of techniques, but the secret, if there is one, is to cast the right people who you know have got that skill. This piece is interesting as two actors play the same character, so we’ll have fun looking at gestures and vocal tone and body language.

I come at it from the point of view that if the words are there and actors are talented enough, I would rather give actors opportunity to explore and discover themselves what different characters are and we can discuss it. That gives actors ownership, rather than arriving with my preconceived ideas of what character are and make the actors conform to the way I work.

I approach it the way I would with a ‘one actor, one character’ play, which is to empower actors enough to feel strong enough to come to their own conclusions.

How important to this adaptation is the character of Eleanor and where did you draw inspiration for her character from?
I think all the characters are important, they lend focus to the wider narrative which I have decided to craft on. The novel doesn’t have a character called Eleanor; the women in the novel seem very functional at best. Stevenson was writing for a man’s world, his novels are very male dominated. Yet one of the biggest inspirations and motivators for his work was his wife. She pushed him to create; she was his harshest critic, his fiercest editor and his most strident advocate. I think that that’s in part where I got Eleanor from. Her character serves as a catalyst. She gives him a reason to continue.

There’s also Annie who is a prostitute character, who is very important for her socio political positioning. Eleanor is an Irish immigrant, so she is from the working classes, like Annie. We meet Eleanor, but she is outside her own class so we can use her as our eyes onto that world. Annie is still within the working classes. So for Eleanor, Annie is an example of ‘there but for the grace of God’ – had Eleanor made different choices, this is where she could have ended up. In terms of giving context to who Eleanor is, it’s really important to have Annie there.

Victorian society was deeply entrenched with the class system and lines were recognisably drawn. To have a working class character enter into that world, gives the audience a sense of that division.




In what ways do you hope this adaptation will appeal to a modern audience?
There will be physical theatre, movement and dance. There’s a new score being written by Tristan Parkes, who is a fantastic composer. And then four fantastic actors.

The first adaptation for stage took place less than a year after publication and 131 years later, the novel is still inspiring theatrical performances. What is it about the story that lends itself well to theatrical staging?
It’s a book with a number of very strong themes and a gripping mystery. There is room to put different characters in there. It’s a fun story to create onstage, because you can explode it. You can add to it while staying true to Stevenson’s narrative. I’m interested in why people do the things they do and the greying of morality. I enjoy creating well-rounded characters. For example Lanyon, in order to give a scale of morality. Utterson is black and white, the law. Jekyll is the greying morality – very morally flexible, Hyde creates his own moral universe and does as he wants. Lanyon is heart and conscience. And Eleanor is drawn to Jekyll and Hyde because for a certain type of person, sometimes good, moral people like Lanyon can be perceived as dull.

Another thing I wanted to do was look at a different reason behind why Jekyll is so insistent on pursuing this particular line of research. I think that’s why the story has persevered. It gives writers scope and opportunity to play and explore with a really strong narrative core.








Jekyll and Hyde it at the Connaught Theatre Thursday 4 - Saturday 6 November 2021. Tickets are available online or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

The Making of Juliet & Romeo
The Making of Juliet & Romeo

The Making of Juliet & Romeo

Lost Dog's Artistic Director Ben Duke tells us more about the creation of Juliet & Romeo. Juliet & Romeo is at the Connaught Theatre on Friday 12 November 2021, 8pm.  Read Ben's thoughts on creating Juliet & Romeo below.

I first saw Romeo and Juliet when I was a teenager. It was an RSC production. I knew as the show began that in about two hours, they would be dead, so I was reluctant to care about them.

Aged 14 I was starting to understand that it was not advisable to care for too many people. Empathy is not a limitless resource. We have to choose who we invest our emotions in. Invest wisely I say. This cautious approach is a characteristic I have evidently passed on to my children. My daughter didn’t want a gerbil as a pet because she’d heard on the grapevine that they kept dying. She wanted a tortoise. Here was a creature that had every chance of outliving its six-year-old owner, and so it would be the tortoise rather than my daughter who had to deal with the grief.

Romeo and Juliet were the theatrical equivalent of gerbils - their death was predictable and imminent and so it seemed best - however cute they were - to just withhold my affection for them and sit it out.




But they were good those RSC actors - and Shakespeare knows what he’s doing – so I was sucked in – I cared – I unwillingly handed over emotional energy. As humans we are, with notable exceptions, predisposed to it.

We don’t want the people we care for to die. I didn’t want Romeo and Juliet to die. I have seen subsequent productions in which I had the opposite feeling because the two leads were so annoying but in this, my first production, I wanted life. And there were so many opportunities for them to live. If only Romeo had got the message that Juliet sent, if only Juliet had drunk a few milligrams less of sleeping potion and woken up 30 seconds earlier, if only Paris had been better at sword fighting and delayed Romeo’s entrance by a minute or two. If only, if only. As the audience we had to witness just how close they sailed to staying alive, and I found that almost unbearable.

So, this piece came from a long standing dislike of death and a dawning realisation that in my job I was perfectly placed to re-write this moment that had frustrated me for so long. I wanted Romeo and Juliet to live, and that was our starting point. Initially it was exhilarating, anything was possible, where would they go, how would they live? We were overwhelmed with the possibilities.

And then gradually things got harder. The problem with cheating death is that then you have to carry on living. According to the experts the chemical cocktail that we experience as romantic love only lasts for 3 years. During those three years there is a gradual fall from the ideal to the real. And Romeo and Juliet had a particularly long way to fall. I was interested in this second part of their relation- ship, the bit after romantic love that was intrinsically less dramatic, more mundane and more repetitive. If their early passion was in part fed by the intransigence of their warring families then what kind of relationship grows from the daily struggle to get a buggy up five flights of stairs?




The creative process somehow mirrored this fall into the ordinary. We began with a lightness and optimism which allowed us to play with Shakespeare’s story and to find the ridiculous in this supposed tragedy. We spent a great deal of time consuming as many versions of the story as we could find in particular Macmillan’s and Nureyev’s ballets and Zeffirelli’s and Lurhman’s films and allowed these multiple versions to confuse themselves in our brain. And then we got stuck. There was much sitting in  silence watching the changing light outside and realising that another day had passed with little progress.

I love the uncertainty of the devising process, there is something alchemical about it. But it is frustrating. There is no score to refer to and no script to pick up, just a lot of what can best be described as drifting. It often feels like failing, but without quite knowing against which bench mark I’m failing. I’m constantly reaching for things that ‘work’ and I can only really judge that from some kind of shifting unreliable instinct. There is a great deal that ends up on the cutting room floor. For example, we spent a long time rehearsing a scene in which Romeo and Juliet get drunk with Shakespeare. We felt that this scene was somehow key to our understanding of their present situation, but it turned out to be a red herring, so we turned off the blaring music, stopped staggering around and felt a bit embarrassed. We created duets that had a physical logic but didn’t seem to say anything, so they also had to go. But as Geoffrey Rush’s character says in Shakespeare in Love ‘the natural condition of the theatre business is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster,’ and I think, like most people involved in creating work, I am slightly addicted to that feeling of imminent disaster while also holding onto the belief that ‘It will all turn out well.’

You are probably reading this in that dead time before the show begins so you are not yet in a position to judge if it turns out well. And I wouldn’t want to lead you on that one. It’s shorter than the original I’ll say that much for it. I would also say, as a general rule, Lost Dog work has been getting better so if this is your first Lost Dog show you’ve chosen a good moment to discover our work and if you don’t like this show try coming back to us in a couple of years.




Lost Dog was formed in 2004 by myself and Raquel Meseguer. We were students at the London Contemporary Dance School. The name came from the idea of a mongrel. The mongrel is a dog who has lost track of its heritage. It is not a pure breed, or even a cross breed, it is its own thing, made up of bits of God knows what. We wanted to make mongrel work. It didn’t feel particularly cut- ting edge to us, actually it felt quite old fashioned because what we were interested in doing was using whatever we felt was right (and achievable within our limited skill set) to tell a story. The story was the thing. And still is.

It’s possible that life is in essence senseless and without meaning. That worries me. As you have seen from my denial of death, I am expert at hiding from uncomfortable truths, so I have found a career that allows me to give shape and meaning to life through the telling of stories. And what I accidentally discovered, although I’m sure I wasn’t the first, was that when stories are told communally they do an extraordinary thing: they allow us to get out of our heads, to let go of our superior intellect, and our irreconcilable views, and to drop into our emotional selves. It is an unfamiliar place, one in which I feel the nerve-wracking opportunity for connection and recognition. Being English I don’t want to make too much of this. I don’t want to hold hands or make eye contact or anything like that. In fact, I want to sit in the dark of the theatre pretending I’m by myself... but also knowing that I’m not. It is the potential for that shared experience that makes me want to go to the theatre.

From the beginning of Lost Dog, I was interested in creating this kind of experience. Whether the work is classified as dance or theatre doesn’t feel that important but inside the process, we spend many hours wrestling with these two intertwined ideas, marvelling at how close and how different they are, and convinced that the truth of the human condition sits somewhere between the two.

So here is Juliet & Romeo told in the technicolour of words and movement – a death defying, life-affirming, alchemical experiment in turning gerbils into tortoises and reshaping this iconic story of love and death into something far more ordinary.




Lost Dog's Juliet & Romeo is at the Connaught Theatre on Friday 12 November 2021, 8pm. Tickets are available via www.wtm.uk/Juliet-Romeo or you can call the Box Office on 01903 206206. 

Being Mr Wickham – An insight from Adrian Lukis
Being Mr Wickham – An insight from Adrian Lukis

Being Mr Wickham – An insight from Adrian Lukis

"Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners as may ensure his making friends - whether he may be equally capable of retaining them is less certain" Jane Austen on Mr Wickham

We are thrilled to welcome the Original Theatre Company to the Connaught Theatre this October with their new production Being Mr Wickham. The production sees' Adrian Lukis, who starred in the renowned BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, reprise the role of Mr Wickham on the eve of his sixtieth birthday. Join us as he lifts the sheets on what exactly what happened thirty years on from where we left him…






An insight from Adrian Lukis on Being Mr Wickham

'I wrote the play when I turned 60 and I thought “oh God” as everything starts groaning, your knees, your feet. I’d had this idea of exploring something to do with Wickham, I’d written another show called An Evening with Jane Austen which was a collection of readings with music but I wanted to take it further and I had this light-bulb moment where I thought “what would George Wickham feel like when he got to 60?”. He was a cad, someone who relies on his looks, his charm and his personality to make his way in the world and he’s played those cards. Where would he have ended up? What happens to rakes when they can’t rake anymore? I discussed it with Catherine Curzon and weirdly she’d been having a similar thought and so we combined forces.' Adrian Lukis, April 2021






Find out more about this new productions perspective on Mr Wickham from the Original Theatre Company's team as they return to the rehearsal room in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hthg58eZfs

Being Mr Wickham is at the Connaught Theatre on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 October 2021. Book tickets now via www.wtm.uk/BeingMrWickham or call the Box Office on 01903 206206.

Metal Conservation – The Sompting Hoard
Metal Conservation – The Sompting Hoard

Metal Conservation – The Sompting Hoard

Two axes from the same mould showing casting mistakes

This week’s objects….

This week, Curator of Archaeology James has brought out a very interesting and significant hoard from the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age. The Sompting hoard was discovered in 1946 in Sompting and includes 17 socketed axe heads, a cauldron, shield boss and fragments of other cauldrons. Axe hoards were not uncommon for this period, and it is not known exactly why they were buried, but there are many theories.

The Sompting Hoard            

I will be assessing 13 of the axe heads to see what condition they are in, if they are stable and if they need any conservation treatment. These would have been manufactured around 700 – 600 BC (approximately 2500 years ago!) and they were cast in a copper alloy, although without analysis we cannot tell the exact composition. (See previous post on why we use the term copper alloy). We can, however, tell from the green corrosion covering the axes, that the base metal is copper, because this is typical of copper corrosion.

 

What we can tell from an initial assessment

An initial check tells me that the axe heads are still in good condition, with only surface corrosion affecting them. This comes in the form of a hard green crystal-like corrosion which is difficult to remove manually. Some of the axes have an underlying layer of black or brown corrosion which is also difficult to remove without damaging the objects. These are often the first corrosion products to form, being basic copper oxides, produced when the copper reacts with oxygen over a long period.

We can also see that some of the axes are sharpened, and have been used, and some have not. In fact we can see the scratches made by the person who sharpened the axes, 2500 years ago. All the axes have casting seams meaning they were mass produced from moulds. Casting seams are where the molten metal has seeped into the cracks along the sides of the mould – and some have evidently come from the same mould as they have the same surface pattern.

A closer look shows us that some of the axes are miscasts or ‘seconds’. One from a set of four identical ones, is missing a collar. Two others have holes in the sides which look to be badly cast rather than the result of corrosion. The details on a few of the axes are not very clear, this could be a result of corrosion, or again badly cast and not up to the founder’s standards. 

 

To clean or not to clean

That is always the question a conservator needs to ask. The initial desire is to see a polished metal surface, however in this case that surface doesn’t exist, due to corrosion. A corrosion layer is made when the surface metal, and the elements in the burial environment react together, to form a new product - corrosion. Often, if you try to remove the green corrosion you may only reveal a layer of red corrosion underneath, which has eaten into the surface, destroying surface details. The further you try to remove these layers, the deeper you will dig below the original surface, destroying any chance of retaining original details.

With many archaeological metal objects there may not be much of the original metal left, and by removing all the corrosion you will simply end up with an unrecognisable lump of the core metal. If there are still details, they may be made of corrosion now, instead of original metal, and in the corrosion surface we can sometimes see details of wear or use, which would all be removed if the corrosion was removed.

There are chemical methods that conservators can use to remove copper corrosion, however in this case, the objects are stable and I will carefully use mechanical methods to bring out the surface details. I will also remove the compacted chalk on the surface, and again