Fund makes dream a reality for playwright

Alex Packer Tempest 2
Alex Packer Tempest 2

An aspiring actor, playwright and director has been awarded funding by O2 to start his own travelling play group for schools.

Upper Beeding resident Alex Packer received a £300 grant from the O2 Think Big scheme to fund Tiny Tempest, which aims to modernise Shakespeare’s story for 11 to 18-year-olds.

Having studied The Tempest at drama school, Mr Packer wanted to make a short but sweet retelling of the tale with live music, physical theatre and inventive design.

Mr Packer is thrilled to have won the bid. He said: “It was absolutely fantastic. It’s a big stepping stone for me.”

The 24-year-old actor and drama workshop teacher recalled his days at school struggling to learn the text.

“I grew up in West Sussex and during school I always struggled with Shakespeare because it’s tricky .

“I started going to lots of productions and I realised that every word Shakespeare wrote was meant to be performed, so I’m putting on a show of my own that I would have liked to have seen at school.”

Mr Packer said he adapted the 17th century play to make it more musical, playful and shorter for a younger audience, which impressed Bill Eyres, head of O2 Think Big.

Mr Eyres said: “We give bright young people the tools and help needed to grow their passion and ideas.

“Alex impressed us with his commitment to making a real difference to his local community and we wish him every success in what is a really worthwhile project.”

A former pupil of Steyning Grammar School, Alex hopes to take the tour to his old school and the rest of the country.

“I have designed it to be relevant for students in music, drama and English classes.”

Acted by his theatre group, Mini Mall, the cast will also involve the students in an interactive workshop.

The first performance is at Brighton Fringe on May 3.