Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 15 January 2018

Interview: The Turn of the Screw Director Talks To His Producer Ahead Of Southwick Show

Gary Cook, director of the Southwick Players upcoming production of The Turn of the Screw, talks to his producer Anita Jones about the play.
See Foot Of Article For Photo Credits

Anita Jones: Gary, firstly can you tell us a bit about the play?

Gary Cook: It's a truly classic ghost story - not a horror story, no blood and guts, just shadows and ideas. It's based on the Henry James novella of the same name - simply put, and not to give too much away, a naive young governess arrives at a county house to look after two orphaned children. At first, all seems well, but…

AJ: So it's a haunted house story?

GC: At its heart, yes. Although the original has been subject to endless debate - centering around the sanity or otherwise of the governess, and the exact nature of the evil she encounters. The text brings up many interpretations, from the supernatural to the frankly awful…

AJ: What can we expect in terms of style?

GC: I've aimed to present it as a very visual show - I've always had in mind the old BBC "Ghost Story at Christmas" look and feel - where ideas matter just as much as the suggested "horrors". I think that's very much in keeping with James' original intention.

AJ: How have you interpreted the ideas?

GC: With the fantastic cast we've assembled, we've really worked together on getting to the heart of the text and incorporating lots of different ideas into a coherent whole - we really want the audience to make up their own minds on what they are seeing, while not being obscure.

AJ: But will we see the ghosts?
G:C Oh yes!

AJ: So is this not for children?

GC: Hmm, I'd be happy for any age to see it to be honest (laughs) though of course not real youngsters. I first saw "The Innocents" (the classic film based on The Turn of the Screw) when I was around 10 or 11. It was probably a formative experience for me, and along with "Oliver!" got me interested in the visual side of storytelling. With the help of Martin Oakley, my very talented set designer, and his lovely set, I'm very much trying to bring that high-contrast monochrome look of a 1960s thriller film to the Barn Theatre.

AJ: The old question - why should someone come and see the play?

GC: It's a spine-chilling story, presented in a very visual way with a team of outstanding actors and a passionate vision. Genuinely thrilling to be involved in - and to watch!
Southwick's lovely Barn Theatre is a great space, just 15 minutes from Brighton and Worthing - with free car parking, and tickets priced at just £11.

The Turn Of The Screw runs from 7-10 March 2018 at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick BN42 4TE. Tickets are on sale now from 01273 597094 or - CLICK HERE for more info.

Featured Photo: L-R back row Nikki Dunsford, Andrew Wesby
L-R front row Kate Stoner, Bertie Atkinson, Nina Hayward, Keziah Israel

by: Mike Cobley


Sometimes it's good to be challenged, to be mystified by unfolding events, to be totally flummoxed by the juxtaposition of what's being revealed. But other times it's best to admit defeat and realise there is no mystery, just bitter disappointment.
Photo by Michael Fung Photography

Brighton Festival 2017's Guest Director Kate Tempest made a surprise return to the city on for a secret gig as part of the Festival's Your Place initiative, performing an exclusive rendition of her unreleased new album in full at Hangleton Community Centre. 

Snow Patrol are set to return with Wildness, their first album in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. 

From an angel and a tennis player to a joyfully paint-splashed lady, Hangleton and East Brighton residents have been creating life-size 'avatars': colourfully painted, cut-out figures that explore who they are or who they would like to be for a Brighton Festival project called Looking Through Each Other's Eyes.

Rituals is the ambitious new album from Australian musician Amaya Laucirica (who played a storming set at last weekend's Brighton's Great Escape Festival). Her work blends the swirling contours of the Cocteau Twins with the wistful melodies of The Go-Betweens and the sonic depth of Yo La Tengo. 

Following last year's success, Byline Festival returns to Pippingford Park, in East Sussex, and once again promises festivalgoers a unique opportunity to recapture the spirit of festivals when they had a sense of purpose. 

John Finnemore has followed a well worn path and is pretty much your definitive BBC Radio 4 comedian; studied English at Cambridge University and cut his teeth in the Cambridge footlights rising to become its vice president in his final year. After graduating, he performed in Sensible Haircut with the Footlights team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000.

Following band frontman Mike Peters' major undertaking for last week's Record Store Day – which saw him perform at record shops in London, New York and Los Angeles in a three-stop transcontinental trip within twenty-four hours – The Alarm announce the release of their new album Equals.

A special ceremony is being held next month at Woodvale Cemetery, Brighton, to return the gravestone of Thomas Highflyer, a 12-year-old slave boy who was rescued from a slave dhow and died in Brighton 148 years ago.

My first visit to The Spire. As you may have guessed from the name it was once a church (St Mark's Chapel, in East Brighton). This one has been converted to an arts venue. It still looks very much like a church though, just missing the pews and altar etc and of course, it has a stage… and wonderfully, and at least on this night, a foyer with seating and a bar.

It was always a pleasure for The Brighton Magazine to host The Beat's Dave Wakeling, when he performed in the city as part of the 3 Men & Black collective (alongside Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers and Pauline Black and Nick Welsh from The Selecter).

A new play by Townsend Theatre Productions relives the extraordinary true story of the Grunwick Strike, a dispute that challenged the way women and immigrants are treated in the workplace.

Brighton based gallery 35 North Contemporary Fine Art is set to host Deanland, a new exhibition of original work by painter Alexander Johnson and photographer John Brockliss. 
Pic by Paul Mansfield

The Rock House Festival 2018 brings together learning disabled bands and upcoming and established music-makers from Brighton and beyond for a day of live music at Green Door Store, Brighton.

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