Internationally award-winning Devon theatre company bringing Beowulf to Plymouth, Brixham, Exeter & Torquay
Issued October 10th 2022
For Immediate Release
The classical 10th century epic poem, with heroic warriors, legendary trolls and dragons, based on olden mythology, is brought to life in a new action drama for the stage, by an awardwining theatre company from Brixham in Devon.
A drama suitable for all ages, based on the classical 10th century poem Beowulf, a Key stage 3 text in schools, and featuring passages of the translated poem itself. This is an action drama based around Saxon and Norse / Viking mythology.
A chieftains magnificent royal hall in Denmark, is ravaged by a newly woken creature of the night, and Beowulf, a warrior hero, alongside his small band, travel to the hall to destroy the creature. He is successful, although encountering two such creatures instead of only the one, before travelling back to his homelands, where war and strife between clans, eventually lead to him being crowned King. But there are other creatures that dwell in the dark places. An escaped slave, stealing a golden cup, awakes the dragon, and once again, Beowulf is called upon to defend the people once more....
Staged with drama, action, and larger than life puppetry, as well as excerpts of the original poem, this is an all-new retelling of the drama, by an awardwinning theatre company from Torbay.
With both regard for production costs and for the environment, the shows set, props and costumes are all created from recycled and salvaged materials, with no loss of quality in the production itself. Similarly the cast, drawn from Torbay and Plymouth, range in experience from those who have performed professionally for decades, to those who are completely new to performing but are seeking to launch their career as actors, with a wide range of ages and skills. The show is created around the performing strengths of each actor.
The actors and crew for Beowulf have worked together since August on this show, in and around their wider lives, jobs, studies, family commitments, etc; creating the costumes and props mostly from recycled materials; choreographing the action scenes, as well as working on the technical logistics for touring this show including soundscapes, and larger than life creature suits,- and all on a budget of selling second hand books and things on ebay, to fundraise.
Now, with a show in the final stages of rehearsals, the case and crew are beyond excited to bring this groundbreaking show to the public at long last.
The show is female led; Laura Jury, who adapted the script from the original poems, has been an actor since 1996, and directing since 2000, she is also one of four theatre directors nationally on Equity's Directors & Designers Committee, which meets regularly to discuss and advise on best practice and improving theatre working conditions on a national basis. Laura has an especial interest, born of experience, in championing regionally and rurally created theatre on a national scale.
Laura Jury breaks many stereotypes, as an autistic woman of colour in a professional leadership position.
The show - and theatre company - itself breaks down barriers for creatives. Laura also founded the South Devon Players, a not-for-profit theatre company based in Brixham, Torbay, in 2005 and led it to national and international arts awards for previous shows- the show creates opportunities for local Devon actors and creative talent of all backgrounds to showcase their skills towards, or to further, developing a career in theatre and the arts
All dates and tickets can be found on the box office page at www.southdevonplayers.com.
The show comes to Plymouth at Stoke Damerel Church on November 4th, Brixham Theatre on November 18th & 19th, the Barnfield Theatre in Exeter on December 2nd, and the new Royal Lyceum Theatre in Torquay on December 9th.
END of press release
Group cast photograph photos (actor name as character, back left to right, front left to right) . Other roles are played by the same actors, also doubled up.
Robin Purdie as King Hrothgar, Lisa Highton as Wealhtheow, Lily Marlow as Headred, Ruth Willis as Eadgils, Brooke Harris as Hygd
Laura Jury as Hygelac, Rich Sandford as Beowulf, Sascha Spencer as Waegumund.
Show posters (self-explanatory)
More information: https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
Laura Jury 07855 090589,
Mail: care of our rehearsal venue at Chestnut Community Centre, 1-3 Poplar Close, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0SA
Members of the press and media are cordially invited to get in contact for any additional information, or to be invited to rehearsals and see behind the scenes of our work.
Google Drive of all press materials
Bigger photo available in the Googledrive above, names of actors in press release.
Fabulous early call for photoshoot at Chestnut Community Centre with the two lead actors in our stage production of Ben Hur. By this time next week the posters will be ready.
A huge thank you to Jenny for doing the photos and to Carol for sorting Judah Ben Hur’s outfit.
Third photo is Spirit- a large and beautiful elderly stray dog who joined us for a little while (now reunited with his humans)
#theatre #benhur #brixham #actor #actorslife #regionaltheatre #britishtheatre #torbay #acting #photoshoot #modellife #stage #performingarts #creative #dog #doggie
Internationally award-winning Brixham theatre company announce an autumn “virtual season” of plays with an international team of actors & writers bringing local creatives and international Broadway/ TV names together.
Internationally award-winning Brixham theatre company announce an autumn “virtual season” of plays with an international team of actors and writers bringing local creatives and international Broadway/ TV names together in a series of theatre created and performed online.
The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, remain active through the Covid crisis, creating virtual theatre productions, as well as planning for the future.
This “virtual autumn season” is a response to the Covid19 restrictions on performing traditional venue-based theatre, which have resulted, across the UK, and other countries, in very little work for theatre actors, and the cancellation of most traditional theatre shows. With the theatre industry on its knees, and no word yet (at least until November, from Oliver Dowden) as to when there is any hope of being able to return to viable physical performances; for the time being therefore, the Players have moved into cyberspace, with actors and crew joining us on screen from their home studios, in the UK, USA, and Ireland, rehearsing and performing online, where audiences all over the world can access the performance, and the cast & crew can earn equal shares of whatever is made from the online performances ticket sales (every penny goes to the actors and crew), to try to support at least a few actors, in some small way, during what is one of the most challenging times that those who work in the theatre industry have ever faced.
For our online season, we have teamed up with three new writers; Ashley Griffin, Germaine Shames, and Rachel O'Neill
Broadcasts of the plays will be ticketed events, via a link to a hidden area of our .com website, provided to ticket buyers at the time of ticket purchase. Tickets are on sale via our website box office, linked to our ticketsource account. https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
The first play, due at the beginning of October, is one of the most exciting collaborations in the history of The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company This show features a transatlantic cast, including high-profile Broadway actors. The show cast are Ryan Clardy (Trial); Ashley Griffin (Hamlet, The Greatest Showman); Jordan Lage (CBS’S Madam Secretary, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire); Meredith Patterson* (42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer; Broadway, ABC’s Boston Legal ) and Peter Lewis (CBBC’s WolfBlood,) .
(Broadway news article about our performance:
The second play, due at the end of October, is The Lost Girl by Germaine Shames, based on the eponymous novel by D.H. Lawrence.
Alvina Houghton, the headstrong daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father’s business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter’s proper place in society, James Houghton buys a theatre. Among the travelling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina’s attention. A celebration of freedom, however fleeting, and a testament to the power of the imagination to transform even the most mundane life. The script has been vetted by international D.H. Lawrence scholar, Catherine Brown. Jessica Levinson Young, Artistic Director of Untold Theatre, writes, “I absolutely loved this script for The Lost Girl. It has incredible pace and the dialogue simply leaps off the page!" . The script won Starlight Theater's 2019-20 Playwriting Award . Another of Germaine's D.H. Lawrence adaptations, THE VIRGIN and the GYPSY, received a reading at the 2018 Festival of New American Theatre.
Then comes Sir Walter's Women, a play written by Rachel O'Neill, for 2Time Theatre in Winchester.
This is a one-act drama that reimagines the life of the charismatic poet, pirate and son of Devon, Sir Walter Raleigh. The play looks at his relationships with the two most important women in his life; one domestic with his wife Bess Throckmorton, and the other political as he manoeuvres his status as a favourite of Elizabeth I to satisfy his political ambitions. His great error is marrying Bess in secret, to the great and lasting displeasure of the Queen. The play ends with Sir Walter's incarceration, trial and execution. Rachel’s plays, Tilly and The Spitfires and The Fasting Girl have had rehearsed readings at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton and her most recent work, Eager for the Air was shortlisted by the RAF for an audio drama marking the Battle of Britain.
And finally – William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew . A project by some of our team members, this adaptation of the full, original text, creative challenge exploring 'further developing on the idea of creating digital performance and new techniques of expressing characters, with the roles being split between two actors. Through painstaking character development, innovative performance, video editing, and use of online media tools, this production is going to be one which presents a traditional comedy, in a very new, modern way.
As is widely known, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, caused postponement and cancellation of live shows for several months, for every theatre in the UK. During lockdown, the South Devon Players decided to resist the trend of companies closing,and the Players decided to create online performances, in which the actors come together to perform online from the safety of their own homes. This in itself has not been easy, as many people in the team, have had to learn new technology & software, and find ways to make it work on household electronics, with the cast and crew working from their lockdown locations mainly in south Devon but also sheltering in place spread across the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland, and the USA. .
The South Devon Players Theatre and Film Company, are developing a proud tradition of creating world-class historical and classical dramas. In 2019, their production of Macbeth, was booked for a second tour and won an international theatre award in New York for its professionalism and creativity. Laura Jury, the director of that production of Macbeth, & many of the Player's shows, and founder of the theatre company, has returned to lead this new project. Laura has also recently been selected to appear in an online Shakespeare project by the Globe Theatre. With lockdown, the Players have been using the internet to perform and livestream digital theatre from Brixham, around the world to global audiences
The South Devon Players were founded in the winter of 2005-6, on the proceeds of a carboot sale, to create professional opportunities for local actors, and has flourished ever since; previously winning national and regional arts awards, including the national Epic Award 2017 for England, a national arts award celebrating creativity and innovation in grassroots arts. Based in Brixham, the Players primarily specialise in researched historical theatre productions and old “Classics”.
For more information and to book: https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
Our company founder, Laura Jury, recently entered a Shakespeare project run by the Globe Theatre.
Her "angry drunk" Hamlet monologue was one of those picked for the Globe Theatre's Shakespeare Solo / Shakespeare from quarantine project - and there she is in the header image (middle of the far left column, holding the vodka bottle). :)
Considering that the Globe is pretty much as prestigious as you can get when it comes to Shakespeare...that is quite a feat.
You can view the link below at:
Laura's original audition video can be viewed here.
Laura Jury (also sometimes appearing under the stage name Laura Jay), from The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, Brixham appears in Leaders Council podcast alongside Geoff Hurst.
The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is currently in the process of talking to leadership figures from across the nation in an attempt to understand this universal trait and what it means in Britain and Northern Ireland today.
Laura from The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company was invited onto an episode of the podcast, which also included an interview with Geoff Hurst. Host Matthew O'Neill asked both guests a series of questions about leadership and the role it has played in their careers to date.
Matthew O'Neill commented, ‘Hosting a show like this, where you speak to genuine leaders who have been there and done it, either on a national stage or within a crucial industry sector, is an absolute honour.’
Lord Blunkett, chairman of The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland said, ‘I think the most informative element of each episode is the first part, where Matthew O'Neill is able to sit down with someone who really gets how their industry works and knows how to make their organisation tick. Someone who’s there day in day out working hard and inspiring others. That’s what leadership is all about.’
You can listen to the podcast in full here: https://youtu.be/LIZ9du16ot0
You can also discover more about both Laura Jury and Geoff Hurst here:
In these times, with budgets stretched, and marketing of shows always being a challenge for any theatre company, we are proposing this new initiative, where theatre companies exchange advertising. A text page of line adverts in a programme, where we list each others productions in the same region, means that we all reach more audiences, encourage theatre-going, and grow together. This isn't intended to exchange money, just help one another with a few lines of text.
Since it is based on an exchange, (just with the provision of a checking copy to the companies involved, to prove openly that agreements are honoured), it should hopefully be something that is accessible to all companies.
We are based in the Southwest (Southwest UK), and that is the area that we would cover, but if people in other areas of the country want to initiate the same kind of idea - that would be awesome :)
Please get in touch if you would like to exchange with us, and get involved in this new idea.
Laura (company director) - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated by our founder