Ghostly thrills with The Haunting in Havant

Worthing-based Conn Artists are heading out on a national tour for their tenth anniversary with the ghostly thriller The Haunting by Hugh Janes, a piece adapted from ghost stories by Charles Dickens.
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The production tells the story of book dealer David Filde who is employed to catalogue an estate’s impressive library of rare books but as a series of strange and unexplained events conspire to keep him from his work, he realises that if he is to convince his employer that the mysterious phenomena are real, they must journey together to discover the source of the terrifying visitations.

On November 10 at 7.30pm it will be at The Spring, Havant. The tour concludes on November 14-15 at 7.45pm (2.30pm Wed) at Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne.

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Following on from the success of their recent tour of A Perfect Likeness, The Haunting will reunite actors David Stephens as Lord Gray and Ross Muir as David Filde. The play will be directed by Nick Young, ex-RSC and former artistic director of the Connaught Theatre, Worthing.

Conn Artists Theatre Company stage The Haunting - pic by Christopher PhillipsConn Artists Theatre Company stage The Haunting - pic by Christopher Phillips
Conn Artists Theatre Company stage The Haunting - pic by Christopher Phillips

Actor and producer Ross Muir said: “The play itself is a gripping adaptation of some of Charles Dickens’ most haunting stories and spine-tingling tales of the unexpected and has plenty of moments to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and have you on the edge of your seat.”

Ross added “The Haunting is a departure from our previous ensemble work as a company but the play follows on really well from our last production of A Perfect Likeness, which was about an imagined encounter between Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens that David and I performed. As Conn Artists’ artistic director and producer, I wanted to find another vehicle for us both as actors and The Haunting was the perfect fit. It’s brilliant to be working with David again as we have such a good understanding on stage together. The Haunting will not only appeal to fans of Dickens but to anyone who simply wants to come to the theatre and enjoy a tense gothic thriller.”

Ross added: “It's really exciting to be celebrating ten years. Of course everybody had to go through the pandemic which was such a difficult time but I do feel we've really started coming out the other side. Our first production was Vintage Hitchcock, a radio play which we did at the Connaught and we took a few years to find our feet at the Connaught before we launched out on tour. The Four Men in 2017, an adaptation of Hilaire Belloc, was the first tour we did, and we did about three weeks with that, mostly venues in the south-east and in as many venues in Sussex as we could.

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“And since then, barring the pandemic, we've been doing really well. We had Arts Council funding for the next tour which we did which was an adaptation of George Eliot’s Silas Marner. That was the biggest cast we've ever had. We had seven actors and it celebrated the bicentenary of George Eliot's birth. That was in 2019 and then we had the pandemic and a couple of years of not much activity. But then we came back with A Perfect Likeness, the two-hander, and then we went out with JM Barrie's Mary Rose last spring, 2022. Mary Rose was our biggest tour to date and now this one is even bigger.”