Relishing the Arundel Festival theatre trail


Micki Darbyshire is delighted to continue her long association with Arundel’s Theatre Trail at this year’s Arundel Festival.

The trail, staged by the town’s Drip Action theatre company, offers eight plays for eight days in eight different venues. You can see all eight in one day if you wish; or you can dip in and complete the set over successive days, running from Saturday to Saturday, August 18-25.

“I have performed in about ten of them and I have directed four,” says Micki. “I get asked, which is always nice. Drip Action isn’t a theatre company that you join. You get invited.

“And also the lovely thing is that you get to perform for eight days instead of the usual four days that you get with amdram. And the third thing is that I love the close proximity you get with the audience in the theatre trail. Some of the venues are quite small. You can actually be almost nose to nose with the audience in some places, and you are not playing into darkness. A lot of them are in the light. You can see the audience’s faces!

“The great thing about the theatre trail is that it gives such a great platform to unknown authors. All the writers that write for the theatre trail are totally unknown except for Simon Brett who always does the 11 o’clock one. It is a competition in a way. They submit their plays, usually about half an hour, quite simply staged, not a huge cast, and they are decided on by a judging panel who pick out the ones to do. I was asked if I was interested in directing Final Report From Cell X32. I had a look to see if I wanted to do it. I read it twice because some things don’t always fly off the page. Sometimes you need to look deeper. So I read it twice and I thought ‘Yes, I can bring out the amusing side of this…’”

In the piece, a comedy, four ill-assorted characters meet secretly in a derelict building. They appear to be part of a wide conspiratorial network. Only Joe, the leader of the cell, is in touch with the HQ. But can the others be sure that there is an HQ?

Micki’s play is in the 1pm slot at the Victoria Institute: Tickets on 01903 885727.

The full daily programme is:

11am Arundel Town Hall: The Apprentice’s Sorcerer by Simon Brett. Is it possible to teach old dogs new tricks?

12 noon Arundel Football Club: Captive Audience by Keith Lipscombe. Laugh? I thought you’d never ask.

1pm Victoria Institute: Final Report From Cell X32 by Gabriel Chanan. Walls have ears.

2pm Arundel Youth Club, School Lane: About Abi by Cathy Eva Bennet. Hit and Run. Still running.

3pm India Gate Restaurant, Mill Lane: Death Does Larry by Cary Pepper. Death arrives and informs Larry he was supposed to kill him yesterday, but forgot.

4pm St Mary’s Gate Inn: What Would You Do If I Sang Out Of Tune? by John McDwyer.

5pm The Cathedral Centre: Sheep For A Lamb by David Weir. Guilty by a majority verdict…

6pm The Norfolk Arms: Respite by Fraser May Karen, and her Mother, caring and sharing.

Tickets on 01903 885727.