New play in Poole brings audience, actors and the local community together

  • WATCH ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee reporting from Poole.

A new play in Poole tells the story of hundreds of people who left the town to try and make a new home in Newfoundland in the 17th Century - because of poverty.

It's being performed by a cast of one hundred mostly novice actors - aged between eight and eighty-six - from the local community.

Local poet David Young has cerebral palsy, but that's no obstacle to him being part of the community play called SALT.

He's one of the 'pop up performers' you'll see around Poole over the weekend.

He said: "I got involved in the community play SALT because I knew it was fun and so great a project and Poole needed this community play. It was bought the community of Poole creatives together."

Most people involved in the play are volunteers. Credit: ITV News Meridian

SALT tells the story of fishermen who take a group of women to start a new life in the new world - away from poverty.   

Co-Director Lynne Forbes said: "We start our show in Poole in 1681 at the Antelope Inn, our pub and then we move across the Atlantic on our ship the Adventurer, all the way to Newfoundland.

"We've got people who have acted on the stage professionally, people who have done amateur dramatics and people who have never been on stage.  Some people have never even been to Lighthouse Theatre before and now they are appearing on stage here at Lighthouse."

Onstage or backstage - most people involved are volunteers - like hair and make up artist Tiger Lily and performer Jose.

Jose said: "I just jump at any chance to perform and be with other people and learn from them and have fun. It's scary but fun at the same time."

Performer David Oaten said: "There's a lot of people involved, a lot of backing behind it, it's local, and also to push my boundaries, get out of my comfort zone and get out the rut."

What makes this performance so unusual is that the audience is at the centre of the action.

After the pub, the story moves onboard the ship and the perilous journey - where sea monsters and the waves take their toll.

The action moves around the main hall - before many of the characters return home to Poole - and applause.

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