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Forest Forge Theatre Company Local community

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Community News

Forest Forge Theatre Company Local community called upon to help inspire a new play based upon the Fawley Power Station story.

A participatory research and development process has begun to help inform the writing of a new play about Fawley Power Station, by Off West End / Meyer Whitworth Award-nominated playwright David Lane. The play is being written for Forest Forge Theatre Company, the only self-producing professional theatre in the New Forest.

The process and the script aim to link heritage, local history and untold community stories connected to the decommissioned Fawley Power Station on the overlooked 22-mile Waterside stretch of the New Forest. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, David Lane and Forest Forge Theatre Company will be working on this project with partners New Forest Heritage Centre, Waterside Heritage Centre and Creative Histories expert Dr Will Pooley at the University of Bristol . The play will be produced and toured back to the local community in 2022.

This process follows on from a first-phase pilot project spearheaded between Forest Forge Theatre Company, New Forest Heritage Centre, Waterside Heritage Centre and other community partners in 2019, which resulted in the unearthing of photographs and people’s stories about the Waterside area. This was part of NPA’s Our Past Our Futures Project.

Images and texts were collated into a pop-up gallery exhibition and short verbatim performance at the New Forest Heritage Centre in February 2020, edited by David using only the words of those they had interviewed.

A particular thread of interest throughout this story-gathering involved discussion around the historical impact of Fawley Power Station (and to a similar extent the AGWI/Esso Refinery) on the Waterside area of the New Forest, especially in light of a proposed housing development on the site.

It was decided the specific impact of the iconic Fawley Power Station merited a bigger and more focused project, developed through further story-gathering and historical research, and this second phase of 22 Miles of Sea was born. Throughout this research and development phase, as well as gathering people’s stories connected to Fawley Power Station, the company will also be also exploring new ways to create and perform the play in order to make it Covid-safe for audiences in the future, working with director Lucy Phillips, set designer Lizzie Watts, and support from North Devon rural arts producer Beaford and their Associate Company Multi Story. Forest Forge Theatre is calling out to anyone who may have worked at Fawley Power Station, been involved with building it, have relatives who worked there and passed their stories down, or any other connection to contact them and tell their stories, or share photographs, memories and experiences about Fawley Power Station from throughout its history. No story is too small!

Please get in contact by emailing Creative Producer Sharon Lawless: sharon@forestforgetheatre.co.uk