Date is announced for town community play

FOR ONE night only Newhaven residents can see a play written about their town by an award winning playwright.

The much anticipated The Port, the Beast and the Traveller by Sara Clifford will be staged at Newhaven Fort on September 22.

Viewers will see the Victorian hill fort inhabited by local artists, dancers, actors and musicians, to recreate a wartime fair and dancehall.

There will be stalls and sideshows, showcasing the work of local people, and a live theatre performance.

Sara said: “Inspired by the Dieppe Raid of 1942, the script draws on the real stories and memories of local people, and includes text by Newhaven writers, to tell the story of a soldier returning home, lost for 70 years.

“His wife is still waiting – apparently old on the outside, but forever young, Penelope has been keeping watch for him. But will he return in time before she slides into forgetfulness for ever?”

From April to July, local people are invited to take part in an outreach programme linked to the show, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It includes opportunities for free training in accessing and using archives with East Sussex Records Office, learning about Dieppe with the staff at Newhaven Fort, linked primary and secondary schools workshops, a chance to share stories and memories about Newhaven with specialist oral historians Spoken Memoirs and open workshops in dance, drama, music, art and costume-making, with a view to participating in the performance.

A co-production between Inroads Productions and Zap Art (the group behind Newhaven Cormorant!) will work with local schools, art groups, theatre groups and dancers to explore the history of Newhaven and its people.

Sara added: “A magical and moving show, created for, with and by Newhaven people - this will be an evening to remember!”

The free event was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, East Sussex County Council, Lewes District Council and Newhaven Town Council and supported by Newhaven Fort and East Sussex Records Office.