Celebrating World Theatre Day; the University of Chichester presents innovative theatre created by new artists
March the 27th marks World Theatre Day, a time for theatre makers around the world to show their skills and play their work to new audiences.
To celebrate, the University of Chichester’s Theatre department presents a host of upcoming events and performances to suit every theatrical taste, as well as a roundup of just some of the best theatre of the year so far.
The spring term within the department is always busy with preparations for the new theatrical season, with students getting ready to showcase their work.
The ShowRoom, the University’s professional theatre venue, will see a huge variety of performances – many of which integrate dance, music, comedy, theatre and everything in between. The ShowRoom hosts both touring shows and in-house productions.
The 15th Fugue; A Buried Truth is just one of the recent student-created productions that hypnotized the house. Telling the bloody story of the revenge fueled events that snowballed after the suicide of John ‘Starkey’ Hopper, the students made use of beautifully crafted masks, finely rehearsed choreography and sophisticated screen work using both shadow-puppetry techniques and animated projections to create a chilling experience, “knowst that thy soul would be safer watching the baiting of badgers.”
If you can’t come to the theatre, the theatre will come to you and many students choose to take their work to more unusual venues. One such example was Michael Stubbs’ interactive Memorial Queue commemorating the life of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place outside the University Chapel.
Other work gets to tour the country such as graduate company Freshly Squeezed who are taking their absurd comedy Everything, Always: The Memorial on the road with performances at the Chichester Fringe in July and Camden Fringe in August. The performance, which tells the story of clowns trying to explain the meanings of love and loss while navigating their own shortcomings, was created as part of their studies and since then has been financed by the company’s own crowdfunding efforts.
“Theatre is a beautiful artform that allows so many people to find that sense of community,” says Freshly Squeezed member Ben Keating, “being able to hang out with other people with the same, weird brains as yours to create something that heals the soul is an incredible experience. Plus, it’s the most fun we’ll ever have!”
A night at the theatre doesn’t have to mean sitting through one two-hour performance; if you seek more variation and a more relaxed atmosphere, the department’s performance cycles offer a place for students to try out new and progressive work in a supportive atmosphere.
‘The Cycles’ are fortnight-long celebrations of innovative student work developed over a seven-week period; one night, which features as many as eight performances, sees huge variation in topic, style and genre as students are given full creative license.
The most recent cycle offered; a comedic solo piece about a girl’s teenage obsession with One Direction (Dear Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall and Zane by Esther Dracott), a beautifully heart wrenching piece about a man grieving his wife (One Thousand Moments, solo by Brandon Cable-Rogers), a witty piece about parental love and the lack of it (I hate that I love you, solo by Amara Derbyshire) and everything in between. Within the 45 performances in the first week of the cycle festival, there was no topic or theme that was not touched upon with the greatest skill and sensitivity- and it was completely free to watch.
There has never been a more important time to get involved with your local theatre scene than this World Theatre Day. So whatever your taste in the theatre, no matter your experience or how large or small your budget, there is always a way to take part; supporting student theatre may be the affordable and convenient way for you.
To learn more about what’s on at The Showroom visit https://theshowroomchichester.co.uk/
If you are interested in learning how to make theatre yourself or just want to know more about the University of Chichester theatre department, visit https://www.chi.ac.uk/stage-and-screen/