As Gary says: “We have 11 venues/pubs providing free space for local professional and amateur acts to perform for free to local people and visitors.”
Gary has sold the idea to the venues on the basis that they will be getting extra people in, so he is keen to drum up strong audiences for the shows which will be happening, sometimes simultaneously, across the venues over successive weekends in September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 21, 22 and 23 and September 28, 29 and 30.
“I have had this idea for a couple of years now,” Gary said. “Worthing has never had anything like this before. I have been to the Brighton fringe and said to my wife that we should do something like this in Worthing. It was then on a bit of a back burner, but I am a part of the Worthing actors and creatives group, and it gave me a few contacts. I went around a few venues asking them if they would be interested, asking them for free space, and the majority were quite keen to come on board. We have got 11 venues.
“I did have 11 actors, but one has pulled out. The acts will be playing different venues over the weekends. Each venue will have six acts over the two weekends. The consensus was that we were looking for theatrical pieces between half an hour to an hour. There are some one-act plays basically. The one that I am in has got four people in it, but there are some with just one person and there is also a one-man act. We are wanting to keep it all quite simple.”
The venues will be Bar 42, Brunswick And Thorn, Cellar Arts Club, Cheers Ii, Coast Café, Tangerine Bar, The Alexandra, The Charles Dickens, The Cricketers, The Libertine and The Swan.
“The pieces are things that perhaps the actors have done before. There are quite a few that are doing pieces of their own. There are two or three that are doing pieces specially for the trail or pieces that they have done before and are now reprising for the trail.”
Audience numbers will be key to the success: “It could be hit or miss. It could be a flop or something that we can really develop in the future. I want to get the word out so that people turn up. The venues are giving the space for free so they will be hoping to get more punters in at the bar.”
The pieces will all be free to attend.
Gary had looked at staging it in July or August or early September, but there was more happening earlier in the summer – and the last two weekends in September had seemed quieter.
Things could develop in the future if things go well: “But for the first year we are trying to keep it all quite straightforward.”
Shows include: Limbo Theatre Company, Moment Twenty:20; Teatime Theatre Company, Unclean; The Warriors, Gork battles on Adad; Full Circle Theatre Company, The Two of Us on The Couch and How To Disappear; Rustington Players, Little Box of Oblivion; Lancing Players, I am Hamlet; and Downstage Theatre 60 Seconds and Counting.