Broadbridge Heath play to be broadcast for remembrance


As the country comes together this weekend to remember those who served our country in conflicts across the globe a play written by a late Broadbridge Heath resident is set to be broadcast to the county.

On Sunday November 11, 2018, the centenary of the end of ‘The Great War’, BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey will be broadcasting a 90 minute play entitled ‘A Pilgrim’s Song’ by the late Hugo Ellis.

Based on historical events between 1906-1916, the play - set to air at 7pm - has strong themes of Remembrance, women’s suffrage, artistic creativity and faith.

It tells the story of the collaboration between the priest Percy Dearmer and the composer Raphe Vaughan Williams in the creation of a new hymn book, The English Hymnal, which is now just over 100 years old.

Hugo finished writing the play in December 2010, and began directing the play with a group of amateur actors based at St John’s Church, Broadbridge Heath, supported by the Space Arts Trust, the charity which Hugo had worked to set up over the previous ten years.

Hugo died in January 2011. In November 2012, the original cast, directed by Dorking-based friend Debbie Harrison, presented the play in St John’s Church, in Hugo’s memory.

In this deeply poignant centenary year of remembrance, one of Hugo’s closest friends, Simon Machin has adapted the original work to create a 90 minute radio play, full of historic resonances.

The play is performed by the original cast of Horsham residents, including well-known local musician, Rachel Ellis, Hugo’s widow, and many of his best friends; doctors, teachers, a solicitor and a lorry-driver.

Threaded through the radio play is the beautiful music of vocal group Opus Anglicanum, who weave the threads of folk music and well loved hymn tunes together, to create an evocative back drop to the narrative.

The play, a serialisation and an interview with Rachel will be available to listen to again on BBC iPlayer radio.