Theatre dreams growing in Selsey!

Gillian Plowman has got a little feeling that The Pavilion in Selsey might just become one of those cult theatres that people travel miles to visit.

The Ox And The Ass l-r Ryan Moss, Gillian Plowman, David Flin
The Ox And The Ass l-r Ryan Moss, Gillian Plowman, David Flin

In the meantime, Gillian is certainly doing her bit to make it happen.

For the fourth year in a row she is the playwright behind Tonight At The Pavilion…

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After success with plays looking at World War One, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy, this year she is offering a double bill of one act-play, running from July 29-August 3 at 7.30pm at The Pavilion, 103 High Street, Selsey: The Ox And The Ass and Spindrift – A Seaside Ghost Story.

The Ox and the Ass is a heart-searching story about a father and his son. Jeremy Forr-Favell, well educated and from a privileged background, has embraced life as a cat burglar, spending time behind bars as a result. Now, leaving prison once again, and suffering from the results of a fall, he is given houseroom by his maths teacher son, Henry, who will let his father stay as long as he goes straight.But can their rocky relationship survive the arrival of a stolen Picasso painting?

In Spindrift, Beth hopes that two quiet summer months in the quaint little house by the sea will help her recover from the emotional turmoil of her life. But she is plagued by the locals – Daphne who lives on the beach; Nadine, the holiday letting agent; Charlie, the bean grower; and … a ghost. A storm rages outside as Beth discovers that the house holds secrets. If she reveals them, will she be left in peace or does she risk destroying their lives?

Each play will last approximately 45 minutes, with an interval of 20 minutes.

“These are two unpublished plays that I have written at some point in my writing career, and I have revised them specifically for Selsey. I wanted to write for the people that I had been working with rather than have open auditions. I knew the people and was thinking about their strengths and about the variety of people, and I just thought that these two would suit. And with the two plays, I wanted to show theatrically that one can almost at the same time and in the same space and on the same stage go to a completely-different space and place. An attic flat in busy London becomes a secluded holiday house by the sea. The sounds of traffic become the sounds of the waves. Streetlights become sunshine and storms. The skill of the set design and the lighting and sound design become paramount. As does the quality of the actors. The cast of a one-act play is usually small as there isn’t time for a lot of characters to each have a meaningful role to play. The actors in these plays have the responsibility of not only telling a tale with truth and conviction, but of exploring the shifts and balances of their characters’ emotions and of realising that most important piece of theatre – is it worth watching? I am lucky to be working with a very talented group of actors, all of who are forging a career in the theatre.”

Ultimately Gillian hopes the plays’ success will hasten the day the venue becomes a sought-after theatre.

“These are effectively new plays especially for the Pavilion theatre and especially for Selsey and hopefully they will attract people from elsewhere who will come across the A27 and come down to see us. I do think this could well become one of those cult places that people are happy to travel some distance to come to see…”

Tickets: Highhouse Insurance Services, 121 High Street, Selsey or online at; £10.

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