Community play film set for screening at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre

Director Ann Feloy and the cast. Photo by Derek Martin
Director Ann Feloy and the cast. Photo by Derek Martin

The eagerly-awaited film of Worthing’s community play, which took place this summer, is soon to be shown.

‘The Just Cause – Victorian Romance and a Rollicking Good Riot’ will be screened at the Pavilion Theatre at 3pm on Sunday, November 9.

Admission is free, however, this is not a ticketed event, so arrive early to be sure of a seat for this one-off film screening.

Copies of the DVD will be available for just £5 on the day.

The film was made by Chris Vowles and Pam Wilson, otherwise known as ‘Two Dog Imaging’.

Sadly, Chris died in September, and the film of the community play was the last project that he worked on.

The screening, on November 9, and the DVD, are dedicated to his memory and a tribute to Chris’ skill as a film-maker and his service to the Worthing community.

More than 1,500 people packed into Christ Church, in Grafton Road, for the play, which took place on three consecutive Saturdays – June 14, 21 and 28.

There was a cast of around 200 of all ages, including children from Chesswood School, Sion School, Worthing Youth Theatre and Worthing College performing arts students.

The play was the exciting culmination of a two-year project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project began with a team of historical researchers delving into the history of Christ Church in the 1870s and 80s, to find out about the then vicar, Francis Cruse, and many of his parishioners.

This was an era of social change, when the temperance movement was gaining ground and Worthing was becoming the fastest growing town in the county.

There were many social and religious tensions in the local community which were heightened by the arrival of the Salvation Army in Worthing, led by their 23-year-old ‘Captain’, Ada Smith.

The play was written and directed by Ann Feloy, who drew on the historical research and on the views of project volunteers who attended a ‘Devising Day’, held at Christ Church during the autumn of 2013.

Ann brought to life real characters from Victorian Worthing, including local magistrates, such as Edwin Henty and William Tribe, and stalwart temperance campaigner, George Head.

At the end of Act Three, a riot erupts, as the hard-drinking working class youths of the Skeleton Army seek to overwhelm and attack a march by the Salvation Army.

Four thousand Skeleton Army supporters took to the streets of Worthing in 1884. Never before had Worthing seen such scenes, and never before had Christ Church hosted such a dramatic performance.

Ann said: “This is a chance for all the performers and singers to meet up again and see themselves on the big screen.

“It’s also a chance for anyone who missed the play to see the film and of course, anyone who came as a member of the audience in June, to relive it all over again.

“It will be especially enjoyable if the audience joins in with all the songs, as they did for the play.”

Doors open at 2.30pm, at Worthing Pavilion, for the event, which starts at 3 pm on Sunday, November 9.