October 2017

Monday 13th November: Traditional sound effects workshop

2 – 4pm, Bognor Regis Youth & Community Centre, Westloats Lane. PO21 5JZ

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this unique opportunity is open to adults interested in the history of theatrical effects and how the amazing machines can create authentic sound live, without the need for electronic recordings. Participants will get to build their own special effects and try them out with a scripted scene. Find out how to use a wind machine, slapstick, rain tube – and many more!

Free of charge but places are limited.

Email hilary@makingtheatre.co.uk to reserve a place.

Making Theatre Gaining Skills trainees have been researching theatrical staging and sound effects from the 18th century through to the early 20th century. In particular, manual and mechanical sound effects that are still effective today and can be operated by stage crew rather than relying on electronic methods.

The machines developed were often highly complex and sometimes built into the fabric of the building. Cues would be written in the script for music and sound effects to be played at the appropriate time. Stage managers specialising as “effects men”, created and performed offstage sound effects using a mix of mechanical contraptions. Some of the built-in machinery (for example the 18th century ‘thunder’ run) are still in use in older theatres such as the Bristol Old Vic and the Tyne Theatre but the smaller, manual effects are being abandoned in favour of recorded sound effects. The lack of professional prop making workshops in repertory theatres has compounded the situation and there is not the same ‘passing on’ of skills which was common in the later part of the 20th century.

Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we can now share our knowledge of this amazingly fertile period of theatrical innovation.

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August 2017

Calling comedy sketch writers and budding satirists!

Could you write a comedy sketch based on that day’s news? Think you could make people laugh while poking fun at our politicians? Or maybe even develop a brilliant idea for the next satirical TV sit-com? Test your skills on a unique comedy writing project taking place in Bognor this month.

The Silly Season comedy challenge takes place between Wednesday 23rd and Friday 25th August at the Bognor Youth & Community Centre, Westloats Lane, Bognor Regis. Arriving at the workshop on their nominated day, a team of up to five writers will be presented with copies of newspapers published that day, denying them any kind of advance preparation. Together, they will select stories based on, or inspired by the news which can be turned into comedy sketches performed by a team of actors at 4pm that day. All the material will be presented to a public audience on the evening of Friday 25th.

ABOUT THE PROJECT We’re looking for a maximum of 15 people aged 16+ who will make up 3 teams of 5 writers each day. There will be some flexibility as to which day you will work on and you can apply with a colleague as there is scope for writing on your own or with a partner. The schedule will be 9.30am – 4pm, refreshments will be provided and a team of technicians will create set, props and costumes. There is no charge for participating but donations are welcome to support the development of The Bognor Institute of Laughter.

Director Hilary Strong said: “This challenge will give writers a tremendous opportunity to try something new and different. Comedy writing is not easy but writing to a deadline is the best possible way to produce vivid, edgy work which can’t, and doesn’t, play safe. Whatever the teams produce, we will enjoy bringing it to life.”

ABOUT YOU You should have an eye for characters, an ear for dialogue and lots of ideas, mixed with a wicked sense of humour. You’ll be a good collaborator and understand the need for deadlines. You must be available for the whole of one of the three days. 

HOW TO APPLY Please email Hilary Strong (Director) on hilary@makingtheatre.co.uk with brief details of your writing experience so far and why this project interests you. Let us know if there are any days you can’t do. Closing Date for applications: Friday 11th August.

 Spring 2017

We ran a one-week course at the Phoenix Centre in Bognor, and we have been very busy with maintenance, planning and fundraising.

Having been without a full-time base for some time we have moved into the Bognor Youth and Community Centre in Westloats Lane.

We plan do run our theatre-based training projects here, as well as various other training schemes.