West Sussex online play-reading group expands for lockdown

Bognor’s Dramatis Community Drama School has responded to the latest lockdown by expanding its online playreading group to provide a wider variety of plays, dates and times so more adults can participate.

Dramatis principal Suzy Duxbury
Dramatis principal Suzy Duxbury

Spokeswoman Maddy Duxbury said: “When lockdown was first announced back in March 2020, Dramatis was quick to adapt its programming and move to a virtual format.

“As part of its new digital offering, Dramatis launched Wine and Wilde online playreading sessions.

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“This affordable online activity, which brought people together via Zoom sessions to read through an Oscar Wilde play, had such an overwhelming response, that Dramatis has expanded it for 2021.

“The new Plays and Pinot format provides participants with a larger range of plays from different playwrights as well as a wider selection of dates and times.

“Plays and Pinot is ideal for adults who are interested in the literary classics but keen to explore them in a new way. The low-pressure environment means it is also perfect for those who are unfamiliar with acting; as there are no lines to learn, and no stages to perform on.

“Participants are pre-assigned characters in scenes from a play which they then read through together as a small group. In keeping with the informal nature of the group, participants are encouraged to bring along a glass of wine or alternative beverage of choice for a de-brief afterwards. Whilst Dramatis is Sussex based, and so normally focuses on bringing the communities of Bognor Regis and Chichester together, the online Plays and Pinot group means adults from across the UK including Liverpool and Eastbourne have been able to join in too.”

Janet, one of the attendees, said: “I was hesitant at first as I’m quite self-conscious, but I had so much fun!”. Marty, another attendee, added: “It’s been great to meet new drama lovers and have some social interaction to look forward to during lockdown.”

Dramatis principal Suzy Duxbury added: “It’s been a pleasure to welcome so many adults to our online playreading sessions since lockdown began and we’re excited to now expand the programme and utilise the power of drama to help more people through this difficult time.”

Dates are:

Heartbreak House: Thursday afternoons (1.30pm to 2.20pm); Thurs, Feb 11 to Thurs, Mar 4.

Lady Windemere’s Fan: Tuesday afternoons (1.30pm to 2.20pm); Tues, Feb 23 to Tues, Mar 16.

What Every Woman Knows: Thursday evenings (7.30pm to 8.20pm); Thurs, Mar 4 to Thurs, Mar 25.

The Importance of Being Ernest: Tuesday afternoons (1.30pm to 2.20pm); Tues, Apr 6 to Tues, Apr 27.

Suzy describes Dramatis as the drama school with a heart for all ages: “Dramatis views its pupils and participants as part of an extended family, and as such believes that nurturing their unique qualities, developing their social skills and having fun are just as important as improving their acting abilities.”