Acting students from the University of Chichester have been given exclusivity over two new shows from award-winning playwrights which are heading to the West End this year.
Undergraduates from the university’s acting degree will be performing in the productions created by writers Adam Barnard and Tamsin Oglesby. Both works were commissioned by university’s department of theatre to give the students experience of working with industry creatives on the main stages of the national circuit.
The cast of 25 will be overseen by directors Tara Robinson and Joe Harmston for performances of Our Burials and Ephebiphobia in early May in the West End and at the University of Chichester.
Playwright Adam Barnard, who created Our Burials, said: “Often as a playwright the first constraint you face is cast size, for obvious economic reasons, so to be asked to write for a dozen actors is itself a joy. The project offers students an unusual chance to participate in the creative process around a new play, while offering writers an excellent laboratory in which to develop new work.”
Undergraduates from the University of Chichester’s BA (Hons) in theatre, performance and Production are stage-managing the shows, while those on the BA (Hons) in drama and theatre will be working as assistant directors.
Third-year acting student Matilda Ingram said: “It’s a real privilege to be working on a completely-new script, and be the first to play these characters, as well as to be working with some brilliant industry professionals and still be in a university setting. It’s such an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to be a part of it. What a way to finish this incredible course.”
Our Burials is set in a nightmarish future where Britain has returned to pre-industrial rural life following environmental catastrophe – and where further disaster is kept at bay through human sacrifice to appease an angry Earth.
Ephebiphobia, meanwhile, investigates the consequences of outsourcing parenting, by sending away a ‘teenage-nightmare’, and what it means to be a parent without control of their child.
Senior lecturer Evi Stamatiou, programme coordinator for the university’s BA (Hons) acting degree, said: “We are the UK’s only university acting programme that specialises in the creation of new works. Our mission is to develop versatile and resilient performers who understand the industry through being active in the real world.
The two productions, Our Burials and Ephebiphobia, will performed at the University of Chichester on Wednesday, May 8 and then at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London on May 9.