Could you write a play in five days? Listen to the results!

Winning entries from Chichester Festival Theatre’s lockdown project Five Day Plays have been brought to life as audio plays.

Grace Molony
Grace Molony

They have been performed by Lucy Briers, Adam Buchanan, Keir Charles, Dickon Gough, Grace Molony, Henry Pettigrew, Nicola Sloane and Ashley Zhangazha.

In the early days of lockdown in March, Chichester Festival Theatre initiated the Five Day Play challenge: writers of all ages were invited to submit an original play written in just five days, the only rules being that it had to match a short brief (for example, a play with two characters, one of whom has a secret to tell the other) and could not exceed ten pages. Over ten weeks, 300 entries were received from as far away as North America.

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Now, a group of professional actors, all of whom have appeared at Chichester in recent years, have recorded four of the winning entries as audio plays, co-directed by Dale Rooks and Hannah Hogg from CFT’s learning, education and participation team.

The CFT are promising “a group of highly entertaining, funny and intriguing mini-plays, performed by a crack cast”, available to listen for free on Chichester Festival Theatre’s Soundcloud channel: visit http://www.cft.org.uk/fivedayplayThe plays are:

Blue Moon by David Kinder (original brief: dancing in the moonlight): Sparks fly when the past catches up with a left-wing journalist and a Tory politician at a party conference gala.

Cast: Lucy Briers (Forty Years On, Young Chekhov) as Anushka and Keir Charles (Quiz) as Simon.

David Kinder is an English teacher and former actor who has written on and off throughout his life, but this is his first play to be performed by professional actors; he lives on the Sussex/Hampshire border.

Backbone by Louis Turner (original brief: two characters, A and B, and B has a secret to tell A): Secrets, lies, evidence… and Pamela. Cast: Henry Pettigrew (Quiz) as A, and Ashley Zhangazha (The Country Wife) as B.

Louis Turner trained at Guildford School of Acting and now lives in West London where he co-runs a showreel company. This is his first play; his second short film Bluebells on the Mountain will be released soon.

Signs Of Life by Hannah Crouch (original brief: a historical character): Mary Shelley has a horror story to write. As a storm rages, where will inspiration strike? Cast: Keir Charles (Quiz) as Frankenstein, Olivia Dickens (CFYT’s The Wizard of Oz) as Young Mary, Dickon Gough (The Midnight Gang) as William and Creature, Grace Molony (The Watsons) as Mary, and Ashley Zhangazha (The Country Wife) as Percy.

Hannah Crouch, who lives in Bristol, completed a BA Creative Writing degree at Bath Spa University; her first play was due to be produced this year until cancelled by the pandemic.

Rock Pool by Alexander Wiseman (original brief: your favourite place in the entire world): A young man is drawn irresistibly back to the seashore, but a strange encounter leads to a revelation.

Cast: Adam Buchanan (The Butterfly Lion) as B and Nicola Sloane (Flowers for Mrs Harris, The Butterfly Lion) as A.

All four plays are now available to listen to on SoundCloud via the CFT website at www.cft.org.uk/fivedayplay.

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