January 2018

The new year has definitely started! Two major projects are underway and the team are working flat out to get everything ready. Thanks to funding from the People’s Health Lottery we have launched the Bognor Institute of Laughter and are now developing a programme of workshops and events helping our steering group establish a new comedy club for Bognor. Launched by Arthur Smith (our splendid Emeritus Professor) the team has already come up with some fantastic ideas for workshops.

Next up: the multi-talented Harry Venning who produces the cartoon strip Clare in the Community for the Guardian and co-scripts the radio comedy version. Harry will be leading a cartoon drawing workshop on Wednesday 28th February, (3.30pm for 14-18 year olds and 5.30pm for adults). Booking advisable, free of charge!

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April 2017

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“Hello, I’m Richard Mahaffey, 43 and unemployed. I have been volunteering at Making Theatre Gaining Skills with Hilary, Sarah and Tony since December following a short three-week period last March where the three of us and others put on a play, “Spring time in Hotham Park” for local primary schools.”

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June/July 2015

“Making Theatre Gaining Skills was in Worthing, West Sussex.

We ran a great three-week project with jobseekers from Worthing. The group consisted mainly of younger adults, with two or three more mature members.

In week one the group helped to devise and design a short play for primary- age children. The finished play was called “Let’s Go Exploring!” Professional designer Chris de Wilde helped the group to focus their visual ideas and then produced finished artwork for backcloths, scenic items and animal puppets. Towards the end of the week we started priming the backcloths.

Week two was pretty full-on. Painting continued at a great pace, carpentry tasks were undertaken and some members were coached in the use of the electric jigsaw. Sound effects were both downloaded and created from scratch, edited, and loaded into our playback software ready for performance.

In week three we did a technical rehearsal followed by three dress rehearsals. The portable theatre was dismantled and loaded into a hired van, along with all the props, scenery and costumes for the show. We opened at Worthing Lido where we did two performances, followed by a show at Worthing College and one at a local primary school.

In between all this, the three staff members helped the group with C.V.s, job applications and related problems. The odd tear was shed when we parted on the Friday afternoon.”

Chris Bagust, Technical Manager

Jan/Feb 2015

“My first task in the show was to act as assistant stage manager. This meant I had to make sure everything was in its right place both on and off stage.

When it was confirmed that everything was set and ready to go and the actors were in their starting positions, it was my job to stand off stage and hand Andy his props that he needed. To make sure i remembered which order he needed his props to come, i made a song in my head. Well, it wasn’t really a song, unless you call six words being repeated again and again a song.

‘Screws, manual, manual, outfit, teacup. ALIEN! Screws, manual, manual, outfit, teacup. ALIEN! Screws, manual, manual, outfit, teacup. ALIEN! And so on…’

Overall, I think it went well. There were a couple of times I should have been ready sooner, but everything still went smoothly.

When it came to the first show, for some reason I wasn’t expecting an audience reaction.  So that meant I had to improvise and add a little extra to go along with the audience and actor interaction.

In the production meeting, it came up that too many people were standing on stage right, making it very congested. So it was arranged that Charlie, after finishing her role, would come over to stage left ready to give me help if I needed it.”

Claire, participant on our 5-week course in Chichester