BY THOMAS DALDRY
Although it’s often under the radar, Hastings has a thriving theatre scene. It is stocked with a wealth of venues, projects and professional theatre makers that operate with passion and innovation.
Hamlet is happening at St Mary in the Castle (Feb 21st-24th). This immersive, intimate production is the first project for Theatre Nation – a new local theatre company that encourages the development of professional theatre by making it.
Emily Carding’s award-winning one-woman Richard III has toured nationally & internationally. She is currently working on a one-woman Hamlet (premiering at Brighton Fringe in May), with both pieces to be staged in Hastings in the near future.
Every month the Electric Palace showcases new writing from local scriptwriters – in John Knowles ‘First Heard’ project. Professional actors provide rehearsed readings before a live audience – followed by a Q&A with the writer. A one-woman exploration of The Tempest’s Caliban opens the 2018 season, in John Knowles’ Caliban’s Codex (Jan 17th).
The White Rock promises to encourage more drama. Particularly promising is an adaptation of (24th Jan) and John Godber’s classic comedy Teechers (28th March).
Hastings Fringe Festival takes place in June/July. Last September’s programme was rich with exciting theatre (a take on Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, for example). This summer’s programme is yet to be announced, but is sure to deliver.
Hastings’ own Stables Theatre is also rife with exciting work. Classic plays (Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace; Ibsen’s A Doll’s House) complement more contemporary work (Diary of a Nobody) to offer a broad and ambitious programme.
This is just a selection of the variety and quality of the theatre that is made locally, but – for theatre lovers – does justice to the claim that something exciting is going on.
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