Posted October 5th, 2021

This event is now fully subscribed

Posted September 2nd, 2021

Full information on the new 100 Club can be found here

Please download the application form here

You do not have to be a member of the FDPT to join, but you must be aged 16 or over.

Posted September 2nd, 2021

The AGM covering the period since July 2019 will be held on Saturday 2 October at 10 for 10.30 in the Welcome Building (Congress Theatre).  Full details can be found by clicking here.

Download the nomination form here

Please note that only current members of the FDPT are eligible to attend.

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If you want the chance to win up to £25,000 and support our lovely theatre at the same time, why not support us through the local lottery. Tickets are £1 each and the weekly Saturday draws start on 16 June. Find out more and buy your tickets now at
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The Friends always look forward to meeting the cast and company of a Talking Scarlet production and this was certainly true of those assembled in the bar following the opening night of Body Double.  Over the years we have got used to summer ‘murder’ plays and this play written by Mark Carey and first performed in 2016 – while not having ‘murder’ in the title – was indeed another from that genre that would have you settle into your seat – or perch on the edge of it – and enjoy!

Body Double is a play within a play. The actors are actors, the set a set and – as we quickly learn – the play being rehearsed mirrors the life of those rehearsing it.  The whole play revolves around the concept of the body double – that is an actor who appears briefly on stage to cover for another who is making a quick change.  The audience watch the double believing them to be the main actor and then the lead appears again as someone else!

As the large first night audience watched this latest offering from Pat Kearns and his Talking Scarlet team – with all but one of the actors familiar faces at the DPT, they were busy concentrating on the many twists and turns of the plot and those Friends who were looking forward to meeting those on stage in the bar afterwards had no inkling of the sobering news that was to be imparted to them later that evening.

Talking Scarlet has a good following amongst those Friends who regularly attend the first night bar receptions and indeed this was the case on this warm early August evening.  It was so good to see our Patron, John Hester, so often associated with Talking Scarlet and Philip Stewart who was directing the play as well as Pat and his five-strong cast.

Clockwise from top left: Davis Palmer, Ross Waiton, Philip Stewart, Katy Dean, Freya Copeland, Patric Kearns, Marcus Hutton

We are all grateful to the very emotional Patric for taking the opportunity to share the devastating news about the future of his company.  We all know that theatre is an industry of precarious finances but it is indeed sobering when difficulties hit so close to home.  For many, Talking Scarlet are part of the DPT family and collectively we wish Patric and all the many actors who have appeared in his productions and whom we have got to know and love over the years all the very best for the future, whatever it brings!

Posted July 4th, 2017

This clever play by Richard Bean, adapted from the original commedia dell’arte play by Carlo Goldoni, is the epitome of comic theatre – and perhaps a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it!  That was certainly the mixed view of the Friends who gathered in the theatre bar after watching the play in a packed auditorium on Friends’ night.  But what a brilliant choice for a fun summer production it turned out to be. With Chris Jordan at the helm, perhaps a little reminder of what we have in store in panto season!

Chris and Talking Scarlet had assembled such a talented cast of actor-musicians it would be difficult to single out particular individuals, although special mention has to be made of Aiden O’Neill who brought his own take on Francis Henshall, the character made so famous at the National Theatre by James Corden and then there was poor Peter Lovstrom – regularly seen recently on the DPT stage – as the hapless servant Alfie who was to take many a tumble into the orchestra pit!  So good too to see Patric Kearns – clean shaven with short back and sides – as the wheeler-dealer Charlie Clench!

The skiffle group formed from this gifted cast and company was inspirational.  They regaled the audience during the scene changes with music that – all bar one piece we were told – dated to the year 1963.  A real visit down memory lane for so many in the audience. This may have lengthened what was already a marathon, but worth every moment for entertainment value!

There was a little nervousness amongst the Friends waiting in a bar packed to capacity to meet the cast, but It was such a delight to meet and chat to them all.

It is always with eager anticipation that a DPT audience awaits the start of a production from Creative Cow – for they always live up to their name.  This time is was with a clever adaptation by our Patron, the multi-talented Clive Francis, of the Graham Greene novel Our Man in Havana.  Again, it was a good sized audience that awaited the start of the play on its opening night and they were not to be disappointed as the cast of four took on the twenty-something roles plus narrator in this amusing and often tense drama.  Confusing?  Not at all – and certainly no repeat of last year’s production of Travels with my Aunt.

This time, the clever use of narration brought the audience – if there was any doubt – back into line and the actors have to be hugely commended on their performances.  At this stage, perhaps an apology to the cast might be in order.  On an unseasonably hot evening, the efficient new heating system in the theatre was working at its best – replicating the near-tropical climatic conditions of Cuba lending a certain unwelcome authenticity to the proceedings.  Particularly affected was poor Charles Davies (last seen at the DPT in our in-house production of Ayckbourn’s Round and Round the Garden in 2015) who was on stage for much of the play in his role as the vacuum cleaner salesman cum would-be spy, Wormold.

From Left: Charles Davies, James Dinsmore, Michael Onslow & Isla Carter

It is always such a pleasure to welcome Director, Amanda Knott, and her cast and members of the company to a bar reception and this was no exception.  It was a joy to meet and chat to them all and we send our best wishes as they continue their tour with this excellent play and hope to see them back at the DPT sometime soon.

 

Winner of the Oliver Award for best new comedy in 2015 and still going strong, what a phenomenon The Play that Goes Wrong has become not only in the West End and on Broadway, but with tours across the UK and Europe – and indeed the world, for we learnt that at least one member of the crew was about to leave for Japan and New Zealand with the show.

Slapstick it is, entertaining it remains but what a clever production from a talented cast of young actors. Many booking for the run in Eastbourne had seen the show before, but that clearly did not spoil their enjoyment of this fast-moving and hilariously funny play.  It was a packed house – even up in the Gods – for their opening night at the DPT a situation that was to be repeated until the end of their run.  Rarely – outside of panto – does the DPT ring with so much laughter.

What a pleasure it was to welcome this hard working cast for a really well earned drink after their on-stage exploits.  The Friends wish them every success with the remainder of their tour.  We hope they keep safe!

Judging by the laughter that started the moment the curtain rose and continued until the end, many in the audience for Waiting for God’s first night in Eastbourne  were fondly recalling the antics at the Bayview Retirement Home they had enjoyed in front of their TVs during several BBC TV series in the 1990s. The sitcom has been adapted for the stage by its creator, Michael Aitkens, and brought bang up to date for 2017.   All the favourite characters are still there – the main protagonists, Diana and Tom – played by two brilliant comedy actors, Nichola McAuliffe and Jeffrey Holland  –  and the cringingly awful, Harvey Baines with love-struck Jane fawning over him, head a really talented cast in this fast-paced comedy.

It was an evening packed full of laughter and humour: one of pure entertainment and enjoyment.  What was there not to like?

clockwise from top left:
Emily Pithon, Joanna Bending, David Benson, Jeffrey Holland, Peter Cadden,
Samuel Collins, Corinna Marlowe

It was with real pleasure that the Friends welcomed the cast, the writer/creator and some of the company to the bar for drink after the show.  Sadly, Nichola was unable to join us as she had to return home that evening but it was so lovely to see so many old friends and make some new.

 

It was especially good to see our good friends Jeffrey Holland and his wife Judy Buxton.  Judy had just started rehearsals for Trespass, the Emlyn Hughes ghost story – which comes to the DPT in mid-June and we also learned that Jeffrey will be back in Brassed Off with Talking Scarlet in September.  We can’t wait!

Join Linda Regan and her actor husband, Brian Murphy, for lunch on Saturday 13 May to hear how she combines her successful acting career with writing hard-hitting crime novels.

Both Linda and Brian have a special affection for Eastbourne and they have very generously donated their time to enable the Friends to raise funds to support the lovely Devonshire Park Theatre.

This event, a new venture for the FDPT,  is open to the public as well as members of the FDPT.

Tickets:  £25 per person (£2 off for members of FDPT)
Venue: 
International Tennis Centre, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne
Time: 
12 noon for 12.30pm

For full details on how to obtain tickets for the lunch, please view and download the order form here.

Born into a theatrical family, Linda Regan has been a professional actress all her working life with a career that has included television, film and live theatre.  She is perhaps best known for her performance as the love-struck Yellow Coat, April, in the BBC hit sitcom “Hi-de-Hi”.   Her husband, Brian Murphy – who is also a Patron of the Friends of the Devonshire Park Theatre – is still remembered best for his role as the henpecked husband George Roper in Man About the House and spin-off George and Mildred, with co-star the late Yootha Joyce.  He also had a seven-year stint as Alvin Smedley in BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine.

The crime novels Linda writes are police procedural and feature a murder division based in South London – where crime is fairly tough.  She says she writes it how it is, although all her work is fiction.  Her latest novel Sisterhoods has just been published and is out in paperback and as an e-book. Her theatrical roots and south-London background bring a real sense of authenticity to her work and, with her actor’s eye for detail and characterisation, many believe it is only a matter of time before her books are made into film or TV.

Despite writing from a young age, her first novel Behind You was very nearly not published.  She was so embarrassed by it that she threw it away – but husband, Brian, rescued it and sent it into Crème de la Crime worldwide search for new crime writers and she won it!

Join her on 13 May to hear the rest of her story ……..

Linda will also be selling and signing her books at the lunch.

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