Lord of the Flies takes to the stage at Brighton Open Air Theatre with a cast of youngsters playing their own ages
.The show is a late addition to BOAT’s programme after the company Brief Hiatus had to cancel its production of Animal Farm, scheduled for September.
JW Productions, who are enjoying a highly-successful first year of existence, stepped in with a stage adaptation of William Golding’s classic, directed by company founder James Weisz, the classic tale of schoolboys stranded on a desert island, the only survivors of a plane crash.
James said: “It turns out Animal Farm wasn’t available to us, and we then stumbled upon Lord of the Flies which is of the same ilk, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to put together a cast of 12 boys and put the show together. We did an open-call for casting at the start of August, and we put it out across Sussex. We have got children coming from as far as Eastbourne and Worthing.”
And after a brief, very intensive rehearsal period, it hits the stage this week.
“It is a show that is rarely performed, and for me it was interesting. I really like the idea of casting the children appropriately. They are playing their ages rather than in lots of shows where you have to get children to age up to play the parts they are playing. It means they can really get to grips with thinking what would it be like for children of their age to be away from their families, to be in a plane crash and having to survive on this island.
“They have all brought their thoughts and feelings about it all, which makes it really interesting. I am very collaborative. I always want to hear what the actor brings to the show because they each have their own ideas about the characters which might be helpful to them. And it makes it more fun as well and also gives them a proper opportunity to be acting rather than hearing someone always saying ‘Stand there and say this!’ It means that they bring their own skills to it which means that the meaning sinks in much more for them.”
James has been running his own company since January, since the closure of the Emporium venue in Brighton where he had been for four and a half years.
“I was the lead producer there and we produced a lot of professional theatre, predominantly children’s theatre.
“And then it closed in January, and I decided to go independent. Since then we have brought a new musical to the Brighton Fringe and we did an open-air tour of The Wind in the Willows… and now we are doing this.”
Performances at Brighton Open Air Theatre from Wednesday to Saturday, September 13-16 at 7pm, plus a Saturday matinee at 2pm. Tickets on www.brightonopenairtheatre.co.uk.
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