A new Worthing theatre company makes its debut with a production of the comedy thriller The Ghost Train.
Company founder Linsay Oliver will direct Saints Theatre Group at their home base, St Paul’s in Worthing from October 24-26.
“The idea was to create an amateur group performing to a high standard in a central location in Worthing, and St Paul’s seemed to be really open to the idea. There are a couple of well-established groups in Worthing that use the Pavilion and the Connaught, but the bigger venues are not really applicable for the smaller groups. I needed a sustainable relationship with a venue that was exciting, and St Paul’s was the first one that came to mind. They had been trying to get more theatre into the space, and I proposed that if they allowed us to rehearse there and covered all our show expenses, they could have all the profit. If we make a profit they will want to spread the word and we can become more creative.”
As for the first show, The Ghost Train: “I wanted something that people might have heard of. It was written by Arnold Ridley who was Godfrey in Dad’s Army. His name is still reasonably well known, and The Ghost Train is one of his most successful plays in terms of his writing. It is funny as well as being very scary.
“And also I wanted a play that I could do in the round. I am making the audience sit in the ‘waiting room’ of the play so that they are 360 degrees around the actors so that they experience everything that the actors experience. The platform and the ticket office of the station are elsewhere.
“The set is about theatrical suggestion.”
The challenge for the actors is that they have to convey response and carry the plot in every direction: “It has taken more thought. I think it is the most difficult form of staging because we have got to consider everything from every angle, but I think the advantage is that it gives the audience the immediacy of the action. I think is has an experiential value for the audience.”
Part also of the attraction is that the 1920s – when the piece is set – were very stylish: “And I have been able to use a wide range of ages in the cast.”
Linsay is delighted with the signs so far: “St Paul’s are using social media and we created the Saints Theatre Group Facebook page, and we advertised the auditions and people showed up, which was a great relief! We had more people than I needed.”
Linsay is directing: “I do do some acting, but I prefer directing. I like to have creative control. I like having a vision and then being able to see it though. I had a clear idea of what I wanted. I really wanted to introduce elements of physical theatre and movement. And the characters are fantastic. I think that the cast have really enjoyed bringing them to life.”
Tickets from http://stpaulsworthing.co.uk.