So, the last few days have been spent at Brixham theatre, setting up for, and performing, our production about the 1866 Great Gale of Brixham with an amazing cast. We now break for Christmas, although we are back in January for another performance at Ivybridge! (Box office details here) Our retiring collection raised approximately £95 for Brixham Fishermans Mission.
Show photos by Laura Jury and Gemma Burford.
Some of our team have been working with a multi-agency team led by Childrens Services at Torbay Council, at St Cuthbert Mayne School in Torquay, as part of the 16 Days of Action, raising awareness of coercive and abusive behavior, and how to seek help.
Our contribution at the school was for two of our team, to work with the students, through drama workshops, to create a play based on students experiences. This will be performed back to the school during 2020.
On the evening of November 2nd, 2019, the South Devon Players won our fourth award. We were one of the organistions who won the Brix Award, a local award by the community organisation Brixham Yes at their community hub The Edge.
The Brix Awards celebrate the contribution of local organisations and individuals, to the local community, and making Brixham a positive, and vibrant place to live.
The South Devon Players founder, Laura Jury, and our stage manager, Sammy Hickman, attended this Musical Theatre themed event in costume, and were thrilled to win this award.
This is the fourth award won by the Players.
While our other awards have been local (2010 Torbay Together's Arts In The Community), national (2017 Epic Award for England; All-England winner), and international (2019 Long Island Theatre Festival - Theatre Partner Award), all of them mean so much to us and our lovely team members.
We are a highly ambitious professional theatre company, making opportunities for local people, and sharing our work as widely as possible, but we also value our contribution to the local community highly, and it was a huge honour to be recognised for it.
It is often hard to be taken seriously as a regional theatre company, and things like this are a huge morale boost to everyone involved with us. We are very happy today after this great news.
Our lovely golden brick from the Brix Awards will join our other collection of awards. <3
Absolutely wonderful day working with this brilliant team yesterday at The Loco Klub in #Bristol, performing #Macbeth. A wonderful team of people, in a wonderful location- a theatre, arts venue and nightclub built into old underground railway tunnels at Temple Meads. Thank you to all our cast, crew, and audience!
Photos by Agne Stra Photography
Rehearsals between now and mid October will be a little off the usual routine as we will also have some rehearsals and performances for Macbeth, so the first Gale rehearsal (table-based script reading, sorting out the performers contracts, etc) on Wednesday Sept 25th - rehearsals start at 7pm, which is our "curtain up" time, though we encourage people to arrive early (doors open by 6pm). I hope that we will be back at our usual rehearsal base (Chestnut Community Centre, 1-3 Poplar Close, Brixham, TQ5 0SA) after the flood, but if not it may be at Brixham Theatre instead if the community centre is still unusable.
Please let me know if you have any questions. It is going to be wonderful to get working with you all!
I will bring printed scripts and contracts on the 25th. - Laura
Dorothy Laity - Maria Sheppeard
Aaron Dorey - Bob Sheppeard
Megan Stander - Ruth
Peter Carey - James Milton
Rich Sandford - Samuel Crocker
Alicja Bagier - Elizabeth Crocker
Alexander Slade - Rob Green
Christophe Lombardi - Mr Skivell
Laura Jury - Martha Dugdale
Pieterjan Eyckmans - rescued French sailor
Still to cast: (Please contact us to arrange an audition).
MRS BUCKNELL (flexible age but looking late twenties through to forties).
The wife of a local fisherman, and one of the poorest characters in the show, Mrs Bucknell is a capable woman who can turn her hand to most jobs, including that traditionally done by men.
Mrs Bucknells daughter, aged around 10 - 14. Hard working, capable, doesn't go to school as she, like the rest of her family work to survive. She is about to take on a job working at the Sheppeards inn.
Christophe Lombardi, a friend of the Players, took up the mantle, learning the role and arriving from Ireland, in Devon for the final two rehearsals, to star alongside Ryanna-Mae Lloyd as Lady Macbeth and a team of dedicated local actors.
The show, performed at Brixham Theatre, the South Devon Players home performance venue, and then at Torquay Museum, attracted record positive feedback from audience and critics, with feedback such as that it surpassed productions by the Globe in London, and the RSC.
Hot on the heels of this success, came requests for a second larger show tour, including from Ireland and the USA, and a request from the Long Island Theatre Awards to enter the production for their 2019 awards. They were happy to accept a video submission of the show filmed at Brixham Theatre.
Months later came the news, that the Players were among the award nominees, and a request from the Theatre Awards administrators to send a representative to New York. The Players were by this time working hard on their scheduled production of Les Miserables, with the plans underway for an autumn tour reprising Macbeth. Laura Jury, the South Devon Players founder and director of both Macbeth and Les Miserables, was unable to attend, but Christophe once more took up the mantle and travelled to New York, collecting the award on behalf of the Players, which will be brought back to Devon during the next week or so, as he travels back from the USA.
Brixham Theatre was saved from closure in 2018 by a team of local volunteers, and it provides a critical base for local creativity, without which, successes like this, would not be possible for local people in their hometown. The Players owe this success to the continued existence of Brixham Theatre.
The Players are now also beginning rehearsals for the second tour of Macbeth; keeping most of the original cast, including Ryanna-Mae Lloyd and Christophe Lombardi as the Macbeths; although also excited to welcome new performers as well. The tour is currently booked into Brixham, Ivybridge, Exeter and Bristol, with discussions underway to bring the show to London, and further venues, during the autumn of 2019. While plans for touring abroad had to be put on hold due to being unable to find funding to do so, this has no way dampened the team's desire to bring the show to regular and new venues here in the UK, and to revisit attempts to tour abroad in the future.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's best known dramas, alongside King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, and Romeo & Juliet. It tells the tale of a Scottish war hero, who, tempted by ambition, power, and supernatural whisperings, begins a series of murders, to take and hold the throne. Returning home from war, Macbeth encounters three mysterious women, whose prophecy of kingship, sets in motion his ambition, and ultimately his fall into madness and blood...
The Players perform the original, uncut Shakespearian text, set in the dark aftermath of a nuclear WW3, in a post-apocalyptic design, with the exotic of the supernatural, and immersive soundscapes, to create Macbeths world in a new vision of the drama.
The South Devon Players, founded in 2005/6 on the proceeds of a carboot sale, and still funded in much the same way, are winners of the national Epic Award 2017 for England, a national arts award celebrating creativity and innovation in grassroots arts, and international nominations for past productions. Based in Brixham, the Players primarily specialise in researched historical theatre productions and old “Classics”.
Well, we had a very successful run of Les Miserables at Brixham Theatre, and cant wait to take it to Exeter on Friday (Tickets for Exeter here). Two days, three shows resulted in an exhausted by triumphant cast!
On Thursday's final dress rehearsal, with a few tweaks underway , local photographer Andrew Barnes came along to get some photos. On Friday, after final tweaks to set and costumes, we opened! It went great!
On Saturday Night some of our team (Wayne Cutler Allison Abbott Sarah Gregori Fiona Humphreys Laura Jury) supported Friends of Brixham Library with their concert celebrating their historical research of the farming area of Brixham ("Cowtown") as organised by Phil Trayhorn, at St Mary's Church Brixham
Photos by Christine Bovey and Laura Jury
Our production of Macbeth at Torquay went as well as the Brixham shows did, with more excellent feedback. A local newspaper reporter, Bob Jope, attended to review the production - here is a link to his glowing review:
Macbeth in Torbay
while other audience feedback and reviews on social media was just as encouraging.
So, we have got 1307 at Brixham Theatre under our belt. It is a really excellent run, and the feedback funneled back to us by the Brixham Theatre front of house staff, has been that it has been our best show to date.
Appleton Event Photography has filmed the production and this will be made available online to everyone as soon as possible - meanwhile we still have one more performance on Thursday at the Barnfield theatre in Exeter. Our amazing composer will also be there from Grace Marie Hancock music
In the meantime, work is beginning on our plans for our next show; William Shakespeares Macbeth.
We are working from the original script, and in order to create not only the best show possible as well as the best experience and skills building for our cast, we dropped a line to the Globe Theatre asking if they had any recommendations or links to material. They are being incredibly supportive and helpful, we can only say an enormous thank you for the materials being supplied which will be invaluable learning for every single one of our team!
And that is where the news stands at the moment.
Oh and if you are free on Saturday, do come and see us at our fundraising stand on Saturday at the Brixham Happenin at St Marys Park in Brixham. We will have our stocks as well as a stall selling a wonderful collection of CDs, and some newly made tote-bags, fundraising for our coming projects.
Updated by our managing director,