Sussex theatre group seeking set designer to join award-winning backstage crew

Award-winning Sussex theatre group Southwick Players are seeking to recruit behind the scenes.

Based at The Barn Theatre, at Southwick Community Centre, they are particularly eager to attract new set designers to maintain the superb standard achieved over many years, and continuing to be achieved, by Len Shipton and Martin Oakley.

"From a meeting with a director to a scale model and then, finally, to the full-size set, every show is very different," said Martin.

"Each one presents new challenges and overcoming them is very rewarding.

"It's not a one-man project but the output of a great team at the Players. I, as a set designer, just supply the ingredients but our 'chefs' in the workshop create the magic."

Martin won the Arthur Churchill Award for Excellence at the 2023 Brighton and Hove Arts Council drama awards for his 'outstanding work and exceptional contribution to set and lighting design and specialist props' for both the Players and Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre.

Len, on behalf of the Players' workshop team, accepted the Smudge Roberts Award for best technical/outstanding creative achievement at the company's annual SPOSCARS presentations in March.

The Players can also boast, when it comes to bringing sets to life, the magical painting skills of internationally-renowned illustrator Bob Layzell, known for his 1970s sci-fi art.

Anyone interested in boosting the company's backstage ranks, particularly as a set designer, is invited to email president Debbie Creissen at [email protected]

The workshop crew are currently busy on the set for the Players' next production, the comedy Sheila's Island, which will be performed at the Barn Theatre from Wednesday, July 10, to Saturday, July 13. Tickets are available on 0333 666 3366 or online at

Written by Tim Firth of Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots fame, the action centres on mineral water firm employees Sheila, Denise, Julie and Fay, who during a team-building weekend become the first people to get shipwrecked on an island in the Lake District.

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