Wilde About Worthing promises literary celebration

Actors and writers are being sought for a new show entitled Wilde About Worthing to be staged on June 28 and 29 at Splash Point seating area on Worthing Seafront

Melody Bridges, who has recently moved to the town, is curating the event - and is looking for help.

“Gathering together local actors, musicians and dancers, we are delivering an evening celebrating the writers who have come to Worthing and been inspired.

“The two performances, each scheduled for 6-8pm, on the seafront, will be an evening of extracts from celebrated authors such as Jane Austen, Harold Pinter, Oscar Wilde, and, of course, the Romantic poets who visited Worthing.

“Intermingled with these wonderful works will be ballet, music and poetry pieces. The evening is a grand celebration of storytelling and its relationship to Worthing.

“We are holding a competition for local writers to write a scene, monologue, poem or short story about living in Worthing now. The work of the present-day writers will be sprinkled in amongst these classic works,” says Melody who is delighted to have secured sponsorship from Worthing Arts Council.

Local writers and actors who wish to get involved should get in touch via Melody@melodybridges.com.

“I am very interested in all kinds of actors, men, women, tall, short, old, not old. I have got some dancers coming along. I want to make it very much a cultural event. I am looking for maybe five to ten actors.”

Poets and writers of all kinds are also required, whether or not they wish to present their own work. Melody will get the actors to help where necessary.

As she says, Worthing has always attracted significant writers: “Sussex has always had a huge amount of creative talent. I think Worthing has a wide variety of things that people like about it, the seaside, the South Downs, the fact that it is a great town. People are attracted by the sea and by the quality of life here.

“Jane Austen was here towards the end of her life. She wrote Sanditon here, her last work, unfinished, based on a small seaside town which was probably Worthing.”

Pizza Express now marks the spot: “Worthing is a very historic town. It seems quite genteel, and all of Austen’s work was comedy of manners.”

Shelley also had strong Worthing connections: “His family owned Goring Hall, and I believe some of his earliest work was published here.”

Most famous of all, perhaps, are Oscar Wilde’s connections - though Harold Pinter is also part of Worthing’s heritage, as was Maureen Duffy, said to have been Britain’s first lesbian to come out in public: “She is famous for her very good writing as well as for being openly gay.”

The evenings will come at the end of a busy month for Melody whose own play will be the closing play for Angelic Tales: New Writing Festival being staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Five days will see 12 new plays from Tuesday-Saturday, June 11-15.

Melody’s play Push will be at 9pm on the Saturday, promising a fast, funny, refreshingly-honest look at pregnancy, fertility and the reality of motherhood.

Mum to a three-year-old who was nine months at the time of writing, Melody was wanting to explore some of the challenges that motherhood brings: “I see motherhood as a huge challenge. Women in the 21st century have so many choices that it is difficult to know what to do. There is a lot to juggle in terms of work and life expectations and career and when to slot in a baby!”