New writer in residence scheme will support rural writing across Sussex

Sara Clifford
Sara Clifford

Applause Rural Touring and the South Downs National Park Authority have announced new project to support a creative Writer in Residence.

Playwright and community arts practitioner Sara Clifford will work closely with communities across the National Park in spring 2019, gathering material on what it means to local residents to live in the South Downs, and exploring the rich cultural heritage of the region. She will shape her research into performances which will be staged in host pubs located in towns and villages as part of Applause Rural Touring’s Inn Crowd scheme in autumn 2019.

Spokeswoman Louise Griffiths said: “For many rural communities, local pubs are the central hub. Inn Crowd supports pubs across Kent and Sussex to host exciting and inspiring spoken word, poetry and storytelling performances, helping to reinforce pubs as central to vibrant rural community life. Sara Clifford will lead this exciting residency by working with communities in seven host pubs across the South Downs National Park.

“Through a series of open workshops, work with schools and community groups, and activities in the host pubs, Sara and her team will creatively engage with locals, gathering their feelings and responses to this special landscape, and their thoughts on any local and national issues which may affect them.

“She will explore how living in the South Downs impacts on residents in all aspects of life and encourage locals to reflect on their own relationship with the land. The final performance pieces in the host pubs will be accessible to all, showcasing live literature as an exciting artform and supporting landlords to offer new experiences to their regulars and attract new customers. The performances will also be published online to reach a wider audience.

“This inspiring project will celebrate the South Downs National Park and give local residents a creative opportunity to get their voices heard on the local issues that matter to them, as well as recording their reflections on the unique landscape.”

Sara said: “As a Lewes-based writer, I am very pleased to be working on this exciting project, which will seek to capture people’s stories, memories and responses to our wonderful National Park, one of the biggest in the country.

“I will be spending time talking to a variety of people from different parts of the park, from the rural farmlands to the coastal areas to the busy towns, including those who live, work and visit here and hearing stories of past, present and future. I look forward to weaving these responses into a performance piece that will tour later in the year.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project in any way (local residents, landlords, community groups, local clubs and schools etc) should contact Sara at

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