New era for the arts in Worthing

David Walliams best-selling story, Billionaire Boy (Apr 30-May 1) comes to Worthing
David Walliams best-selling story, Billionaire Boy (Apr 30-May 1) comes to Worthing

A new era of independence dawns as the new Worthing Theatres and Museum trust launches an exciting season for 2020.

The new charity sets out its stall with the new programme, a new chapter which sees Worthing’s cultural offer move from Worthing Council control to trust status.

As Worthing Theatres and Museum CEO Amanda O’Reilly says, it is a staged transition, with the new body moving towards complete financial independence over the next few years.

In the meantime, Worthing Theatres and Museum will continue to work closely with the council.

But with the new season announcement, already the new organisation is laying down a marker for the kind of programme it wants to bring to the town.

Amanda is promising it will be increasingly a programme tailored to Worthing – rather than the run of touring shows you can probably catch at venues up and down the country. She pledged the new season will bring exciting work across multiple artforms for everyone to explore.

“With genres covering theatre, family shows, live music, circus, comedy, dance, exhibitions and film, the programme is designed to entertain a wide range of audiences across the county of Sussex and beyond.

“And the latest brochure highlights just some of the organisation’s new incredible projects.”

To pick up a copy of the latest Worthing Theatres and Connaught Cinema brochure, visit the Connaught Theatre or view the upcoming programme online at wtam.uk.

Worthing Theatres and Museum (WTM) is a charity led by a cross-section of corporate and cultural leaders recently appointed as trustees: Peter Cadwallader, Scott Marshall, Simon Parsonage, Cepta Kelly, Andrew Comben and Louise Burgess.

An impressive programme lies ahead.

Spokeswoman Kathryn Follis said: “In their theatre line-up WTM are particularly proud to be working with the incredible Headlong Theatre, bringing Jitney in September (Sep 23-25). This exhilarating new production of August Wilson’s modern classic explores the fragile bond between eight men as they live, love and work in a racially segregated, post-Vietnam America.

“Other theatre highlights include the critically acclaimed Bryony Kimmings, I’m A Phoenix, Bitch (Jun 25-27) which weaves a powerful, dark and joyful masterpiece about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. Also coming are The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s adaptation of The Cat and The Canary (Jul 6-8) and returning favourites Theatre Re with their beautifully conceived Birth (Oct 8-9), a poignant piece that explores the bond between three generations of women, their shared loss and the strength they discover in each other.

“This season also brings an incredible programme of dance and sees WTM welcome TRIBE// (Aug 3) as their first ever dance company in residence. This means more fantastic performances from one of the most exciting companies working today and the chance to see the premiere of an exclusive outdoor version of beautiful work No Sudden Moves. The dance programme also includes Rachael Young’s OUT, a powerful interdisciplinary work inspired by personal experiences and ongoing global struggles for LGBTQIA+ rights; and Lost Dog’s Juliet & Romeo (Jun 5), that bends dance, theatre and comedy to reveal the real story of Romeo & Juliet.

“WTM are also continuing their stunning circus offering, this time across the entire season. The award-winning Ockham’s Razor return (Jun 13-14) with a beautiful new show, This Time, about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves. Australian circus favourites, Head First Acrobats present their western themed circus spectacular Railed; Inverted Theatre bring the playful show Box; and newly formed company Head in the Clouds perform their wonderful original show Hattie.

“There are plenty of family shows to keep everyone entertained, from the amazing new production of David Walliams’ best-selling story, Billionaire Boy (Apr 30-May 1), to Twirlywoos Live (Jul 3-4) and TaleGate Theatre’s new adaptation of The Queen’s Knickers (Aug 27-28).

“WTM are particularly excited to welcome back Katie Pritchard, returning after her starring role as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Worthing’s most successful pantomime ever. Join Katie for a high-octane tour of her favourite people in history (Sep 12), complete with high energy songs and lots of laughs.”

Kathryn added: “In comedy, hilarious acts such as Josh Widdicombe (May 18), Bridget Christie (Oct 8), Milton Jones (Nov 19) and the returning Patrick Monaghan (Oct 1) will keep you entertained across the entire season. The season also offers a diverse range of talks, offering insights from speakers such as Will Young (Sep 12), Ben Fogle (Sep 24), Harry Redknapp (Oct 23), Jeremy Vine (Jun 19), Amber Butchart (Aug 20) and Suggs (Oct 7), not forgetting archaeologist James Sainsbury’s wonderful programme of talks and walks offering you the opportunity to learn more about the history of the local area and the talks offered by our curation team examining exhibitions in more detail (May 30).

“The live music offering covers everything from Kate Rusby’s exquisite traditional folk (May 7) to The Rheingans Sisters (Sep 3). Fun filled tributes such as The Bluejays: Rock and Roll Revolution (Aug 15) and Lost in Music (Aug 29) give you a chance to hear all your favourite songs from different eras live. All alongside the regular Worthing Symphony Orchestra’s season of concerts and the Jazz Evenings Season.

“WTM are also bringing you several exhibitions alongside their fantastic permanent collections. Anthony Bennett’s bold and distinctive Indian Yellow exhibition will be on display in the Main Gallery (May 2-Oct 17), featuring vibrant and abstract works open to the interpretation of the viewer. Other exhibition highlights include Mandy Williams’ atmospheric photography and film exhibition, A Strange and Familiar Sea (until May 23).”

You can find out more at the open day on Saturday, April 25, a chance to explore all the WTM venues and meet our team.

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