Short play project for Arundel Festival

Stuart Smithers.
Stuart Smithers.
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A new venture for the Arundel Players sees the launch of Short Cuts At The Priory at this year’s Arundel Festival.

If all goes well, it will inaugurate an annual short play written by an Arundel Players member to go alongside the main Festival production each year.

Kicking it all off is Stuart Smithers who is both writer and director for Poor Visibility, a monologue of around 30 minutes which will play at the Players’ Priory Playhouse base from

Monday-Saturday, August 20-25 at 11am.

Little Women, directed by Stuart’s wife Dawn, will play in the evening (Saturday-Saturday, August 18-25 at 7.45pm, except Sunday 19, 5pm matinee; tickets on 01243 782976).

In Stuart’s piece, Rosey Purchase plays Annie McKeown. Annie is homeless. Living on the margins of Brighton’s teeming metropolis, she’s a woman with a tale to tell and she’ll tell it to you straight, without bitterness. If you’ve ever hurried guiltily past ‘on the other side’, take time out to hear Annie’s story, the Players urge.

“Rosey is playing an Irish lady who has fallen from grace,” Stuart explains. “She has lost her family, her job, her home, and she ends up living on the streets of Brighton. The play is her own story in her own words, how she arrived in this state – which sounds a bit serious, but there is a large degree of humour and a reasonable dollop of pathos.

“The idea came from the fact that I work in Brighton myself in an area where there are lots of homeless people to such an extent that when I arrive at my office to work I find someone sleeping in my doorway. Very often they are asleep. One has to wake them to get in the door. I have never spoken to them at any depth about their situation, just passing the time of day really and like a lot of people dropping them a quid every now and again because you feel sorry for them but not knowing where the money is going to go.

“The play is about wondering how we come to the situation where we make assumptions about people on the streets, that it is somehow all their own fault, that they have drunk themselves into this state and that they are the author of their own misfortunes. In many cases they are not. They are the victim of circumstances.”

And so it is with Annie…

Performed in the auditorium at the Priory Playhouse Theatre each morning at 11am. Tickets are £4 and will be available on the door, or to pre-book phone 01903 765919.