Chichester theatre students expand into Worthing

Ashlie Bedwell
Ashlie Bedwell
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University of Chichester theatre students move to Worthing for the first of what they hope will be a monthly theatre night at St Paul’s arts centre.

The idea is to showcase to a wider audience work which is being produced in the university, says organiser Ashlie Bedwell. The first night will be on February 23.

“I am currently a theatre student on the BA (hons) course and I feel very passionately about the creative community that is flourishing in Worthing,” says Ashlie. She brings the two things together through the new venture.

“I want the students on the course to be able to show their work to the public. At the moment, on the course, one thing I have noticed is that it is difficult to get the public to come into the university to see the performances. I have done quite a lot of performances, and I have noticed that a lot of students are wanting to offer proper public performance.”

Ashlie lives in Worthing, having moved from Brighton. But she had lived in Worthing before - and now notices just how much it is developing in artistic terms: “The creative community in Worthing is really flourishing, and St Paul’s is a great place. It’s a really interesting place.

“A lot of the venues in Worthing are becoming more open to artistic ideas. I have been to the theatre a lot in Worthing and over the past few years, it has really developed there. It is becoming a really interesting place for the theatre.

“Coming from Brighton, I have been in the Brighton Fringe and in the Brighton Festival, and I have seen some of that coming to Worthing. It is really exciting in that respect.

“The real inspiration for me with this was that I was watching the third-years’ productions in Chichester. The first cycle was at the end of October, and it was all devised, all brand-new work. I thought it would be really great for an outside audience, and I am the kind of person that likes to do things rather than just think about them! I started talking to the venues and talking to some people, and I stumbled across St Paul’s booking manager, and I decided to go ahead with it.

“The first night we have got a really good comedy. We are doing a really good piece called With Thanks to Shania Twain. It is almost like a juke-box musical. There are three boys talking about feelings that they might not necessarily talk about. They were really interested in ideas of masculinity and being open with your feelings, and they have created this piece which is really funny and intelligent. I thought it would be good to put it on a bigger stage. I have got a lot of students that are interested in using this chance as a platform for what they are doing.

“The piece is about 45 minutes. It is quite a short evening, but the idea is that the boys will stay around afterwards and chat about it. It is not just about opening the show. The idea is to chat to people, to talk about people about what we do, to tell them about our showcases and hopefully bring in a bigger audience.

“We are starting out just with University of Chichester students for the first few events, but then I would like to open it up to Northbrook College if they would like to offer some work.”

Doors open at 7.30pm. The performance will be at 8pm, and then the chat will start at about 8.45pm.

For ethical reasons, Ashlie is not producing paper tickets. Booking is online only at http://www.seetickets.com/tour/in-a-rut-present-with-thanks-to-shania-twain.

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