Winchester’s Chesil Theatre returns to the stage with streamed show

WINCHESTER’S Chesil Theatre returns to the stage on November 7 at 7.45pm when a live performance of Jim Cartwright’s Two will be streamed direct into the homes of the audience.

Tickets are now on sale from www.chesiltheatre.org.uk.

It is the first production the am-dram company have put on using the new communications technology.

Tony Rogers, director, said: “A streamed show has been a new way for us to work. Our goal has been to keep the feel of a live, on-stage performance, letting the audience use their imagination much more than they would watching a pre-recorded show or film.”

Two, an award-winning play, takes place in a pub during the course of one evening and involves just two actors playing 14 different characters.

It was first performed in 1989 but it is not a period piece and rather has a timeless quality in encompassing a wide variety of people and situations; sometimes funny, sometimes sad, eventually poignant when the backstory of the husband and wife publicans is unveiled.

With pandemic restrictions in force for non-professional theatre, this show has been made possible by casting one household, real husband and wife actors Peter and Sarah Andrews, in the challenging roles.

Sarah last appeared with Chesil Theatre in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. Actor/director Peter’s roles have ranged from Badger in The Wind in the Willows to Andrew Wyke in Sleuth. Earlier this year he directed Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, presented just before lockdown.

Chesil Theatre chairman David Small said: “Live streaming Two on 7th November is as near as we can make it for an audience to enjoy a show. This is not archive material or a pre-recording. Our audience will be watching a one-off performance, albeit at a distance, but exactly as it’s happening on the Chesil Theatre stage.”

Tickets at £10 per household (or £5 per single person household) give access to the live transmission on the night and are available from www.chesiltheatre.org.uk.

The show can be experienced on most popular devices – tablet, smart TV, or laptop – and starts at 7.45pm (logon from 7.30pm).

David Small, chairman, added: “This has certainly been a year for firsts at Chesil Theatre: having to cancel three productions, including Dracula just days before performance plus our popular outdoor show, poring over government guidance notes for non-professional theatres and preparing risk assessments for what we finally decided we could achieve.

“The idea for Two came about when Peter and Sarah Andrews performed an extract as part of a video cabaret amongst Chesil Theatre members. We started rehearsals under the restriction to two households – Peter and Sarah household one, Tony Rogers as Director, household two. We felt we should be able to put on a performance in some form and travelled hopefully. Then came the “rule of six” allowing Mike Robinson to join as Technical Director. This made live streaming an option. We’ve been fortunate to have expertise within our membership that’s enabled us to put the technical side together, when this type of performance would normally involve hugely expensive equipment. Our small team has borrowed and adapted to make the whole venture possible. Of course we want to welcome an audience back to our intimate studio-style venue, but this is as near as we can achieve it right now.”

Mr Rogers added: “Two is an ideal play to present to our audience in this new way. Two actors create fourteen different characters on a basic stage set-up, with mimed props. We’ll be using our normal theatre acting and technical skills but adding the multi-camera aspect and specific lighting. We aim to capture the energy of a live show, exactly as it is happening.”

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