The Tempest for Brighton Fringe

Ex-teacher-turned-director Sarah Slator brings her offering of Shakespeare's The Tempest to Brighton's oldest building this festival.

Simon Stallard as Caliban
Simon Stallard as Caliban

Sarah, artistic director of Sussex-based This is my Theatre, offers the show on Saturday, May 13, Wednesday, May 24 and Friday, June 2 at 7.30pm (doors open 7pm; running time one hour 20 minutes) at Preston Old Church, Preston Drove, Brighton.

“For 12 years Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has dwelt on an island after his brother Antonio betrayed him and cast him adrift in a small boat. For 12 years he has plotted revenge on those who overthrew him...

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“After successful tours of Romeo and Juliet and A Christmas Carol in 2016, This is my Theatre is back in 2017 and set to create a storm this Brighton Fringe with their one-act adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Classical language will combine with live music and choral song in the beautiful setting of Brighton’s oldest building to bring what is thought to be the bard’s final play to life. A tale of revenge, love and forgiveness, this is sure to delight audiences of all ages. Working with the Churches Conservation Trust over the past year, I have been fortunate to find myself in some absolutely-stunning buildings.

“I was visiting St John the Evangelist Chapel in Chichester as a potential venue for a completely-different show (our forthcoming summer tour of Macbeth). All the time I was there though I just couldn’t get The Tempest out of my mind. Perhaps the wood-panelled gallery above reminded me of being in the belly of a ship, particularly when combined with the crow’s nest of the three-tiered pulpit there!

“As a former drama teacher I have taken many students to see productions of what is thought to be Shakespeare’s last play and have always been captivated by portrayals of the opening storm. How on earth could we create such a scene as a small rural touring company, performing in venues that often don’t have power or lighting? So this became my challenge! Taking on the play has also given opportunity to address other aspects of the text that I found students struggled with in their study, particularly how quickly Prospero forgives those who betrayed him. I could never really disagree when they argued he forgives them too quickly! As taking part in Brighton Fringe has always been a dream of mine, and with live music composed and specially selected for the production by actor/musician Simon Stallard, I am delighted to premier our version of the play this year in a CCT venue.”

Tickets on 01273 917272 and This is my Theatre was formed in 2016 by Sarah, who has directed for companies including Chapterhouse Theatre Company and Icon Theatre.

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