What Links Gerbils, Dreams, Gentlemen and Portchester Castle?

No, I couldn’t think of anything either……………………except the SSA of course!  Your favourite Shakespeare company is heading into a very busy period, so hop on board the Bard Bus (I apologise, that’s terrible) and hold on tight.  First it’s the gerbils, with Gnawing on 28th September at Titchfield Community Centre.  There will be 4 blokes and 1 woman in gerbil costumes, an open bar, a hilarious script, and it’s even got a warning for adult content – what more could you want!

Hot on the heels of something that Shakespeare most definitely wouldn’t have written comes one his most popular works – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Rehearsals are in full swing, and it promises to be a magical production.

As observant readers will have noted from my last post, our Spring 2020 play will be Two Gentlemen of Verona, so plenty of info to come on that.  What you won’t know is that the 2 gents will be followed by the SSA appearing at Portchester Castle!  In a recent announcement from that nice Mr Nick Downes, it was confirmed that we have secured a summer slot for an as-yet-undecided production in this beautiful location, which promises to be hugely exciting.

The next 12 months promise to be full of action, so keep visiting this site to keep up to date with everything we will be doing.


Blimey, busy, busy, busy………………………deep breaths, here we go!

  1. Confirmation that Rob Bartlett’s Gnawing is being staged at Titchfield Community Centre on Saturday 28th September at 7.30pm.  It stars a bunch of SSA luminaries so you won’t want to miss it, click here for tickets.  It’s about gerbils you know……………………
  2. Our Autumn production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on the tracks and heading full tilt for the station.  Casting is done, read-throughs are starting, and it won’t be long before rehearsals kick off.  The production is at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island, from Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd November, click here for more details and for tickets.
  3. We are proud to announce that our Spring 202o production will be Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Jacquie Penrose.  It will be the first time we have staged this play since 1973, and if the production is anywhere near as interesting as Jacquie’s pitch it will be fabulous both to be in and to watch.  The play will be on from 25th to 28th March 2020 at the Square Tower, Portsmouth, but before that we have the expo, on Thursday 28th November 2019 at HQ.  This will be followed by auditions on Thursday 5th December at 7.30pm and Sunday 8th December at 2pm, both at HQ.
  4. Finally – an update on our buildings.  We successfully vacated our wardrobe/storage building in Stamshaw a few weeks ago, and are now firmly ensconced in the “New Place”, a luxurious (well, big) garage space in Drayton.  Over the next few months we will be reshaping the interior to maximise the space, so a big thank you to the City Council for renting the property to us, and to all the members who helped with the move.

Daydream Believer

So it’s official!  Our Autumn 2019 production will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Paula Bartlett and Aaron Holdaway.  The important dates for now – Tuesday 21st May at 8pm for the expo (straight after the AGM), auditions 1 on Tuesday 4th June at 7.30pm, and auditions 2 on Wednesday 12th June, also at 7.30pm.  All of this takes place at our HQ in Omega Street.

Talking of the AGM – it’s at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st May at HQ, if you are a member, or interested in joining us, then please don’t miss it – and then stay on for the MSND expo!

Finally advance notice – Rob Bartlett has been busily scribbling away and the rodents will be returning. Yes, it’s time for Gnawing: The Gerbils Return (this may not be the official title!).  The provisional date for this magnum opus is Saturday 28th September, presented at Titchfield Community Centre.  More new as we get it………….

News of the World

A lot has happened since January, and my only excuse for not writing sooner is that I’ve been busy acting (it takes a lot of effort you know), so, here goes………..

Firstly we must make note of the passing of Mike Wines, a member of the company over many years, and most recently seen in Murder in the Cathedral (2016) and Pericles (2017).    Here’s Mike in action in the former;

14435271_1220706707993147_541671314458489018_oHe will be greatly missed by all of us in the SSA.

January saw the Portsmouth News Guide Awards take place, and although none of our nominees (for SSA work or for work with other theatre groups) got first prize, the November 2018 production of The Tempest took a very creditable runners-up nod for Best Production.  Well done to Aaron, David, and the cast and crew.

We still need new premises to stash our costumes, props and scenery.  If you have any ideas, please get in contact via the email address or directly to any committee member.

Our production of SSA member Vin Adams’ original work, Besieged, took place earlier in March at the Square Tower.  If audience numbers and audience reaction are anything to go by, it was a huge success!  All 4 nights were sold out weeks in advance, and we managed to get both the Lord Mayor and the MP for Portsmouth South along to the production.  Huge congratulations to directors Nick Downes and Steve Blackham, to Vin as the writer, and to the cast and crew.  To stage a play about Portsmouth’s Civil War siege in one of the buildings at the heart of the story was very special.

That nice Mr Bartlett is putting on another Cabin Pressure members night at HQ on Friday 10th May.  If you’ve seen this before you’ll know it’s hilarious, and not only because of the script.  Make sure you don’t miss the usual cast of MJN Air idiots plus a few guest voices on the night.

Finally an early shout about the AGM – it will take place in May (date tbc) and is likely to be accompanied by the expo for our November production.  Full details of this important event will be shared soon.


Help! I Need Somebody. Help! Not Just Anybody.

Dear readers – for a good few years the SSA has been renting a hall in North End to house our scenery, props and costumes.  Unfortunately that arrangement is coming to an end in the next few months, and we really  need to find a new location as this stuff is very precious to us.  We don’t need a full building, or anything fancy like windows (!), just somewhere secure that we can get access to and that has enough room – it can be an unused room in a building, an outhouse etc.  Commercial rents for garages and similar are out of our league – we are a small charity – but we are happy to pay for the space and to keep it clean, tidy, and if required, to decorate it etc.  If you can help, or know of someone else who can, please email us on thesouthseashakespeareactors@hotmail.co.uk

Many Thanks

Windy City………..

The Tempest has come and gone, carried away on the winds of change (see what I did there – tempest, wind, wind, tempest…………….. oh never mind), and what a fantastic production it was.  Full of originality, sound and colour, with a stage full of talented actors, the play garnered praise from everyone who saw it.  To top it off, we’ve now got 3 nominations in this year’s Portsmouth News Guide Awards!  The entire production of The Tempest has been nominated for “Best Amateur Production”, whilst Sarah Ash (Prospera) and Susie Rowland (Ariel) have picked up nominations for “Best Amateur Actress”.  Huge congratulations to everyone involved, to Sarah and Susie, and to Aaron and David for creating and presenting such a wonderful piece.  Please get voting, it would fantastic to see the SSA pick up some awards – link here

To prove what a talented lot we are in the SSA, I must make mention of our members who have picked up nominations for work with other theatre companies in the area – Vin Adams and Nick Downes for Waiting for Godot, Katie Watson for Hedda Gabler and Faye Williams for Constellations.  A massive “well done” to you all.

Meanwhile back in SSA land, rehearsals have already begun for our March 2019 production of Besieged, Vin Adams’ original work about Portsmouth in the English Civil War.  It’s shaping up to be an excellent production, and tickets are already on sale, so please get buying.

On a final, year-ending note – it was great to see so many members at last week’s Christmas party, with several acts demonstrating acute comedy timing, finely tuned singing voices and a complete mastery of the crafts of magic (I may be exaggerating a tad here….).  A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are in, who watch or who simply like the SSA.  It’s been a great year, and we’ll see you in 2019 for some 17th century shenanigans

When The Wind Blows………….

After a busy few weeks the team is now settling down for an autumn of rehearsing and staging The Tempest.  Aaron, David and the talented cast have been working together since the end of August and it’s already showing signs of the magic to come.  Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

Before bidding the final farewell to summer, however, let’s just take a moment to look back on the New Director’s Showcase, which happened on the 22nd and 23rd August.  Like last year, this was a fantastic night, full of stagecraft and impressive performances.  A huge well done to Amy, Mary and Sue and to their casts for such a great evening.

Knock Three Times

It’s Summer, it’s scorchio, and everyone is looking forward to, or are currently on, or are miserable because they are back from, their Summer holidays.  Does this mean the SSA is in a seasonal slumber?  Well obviously not, or I would have nothing to write about!  In direct contrast to the soporific feelings induced by the heat, we are busier than ever, with three major events in the mix;

Number 1 – the New Director’s Evenings on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd August.  Such a huge success last year, and this year promises to be equally wonderful.  Just follow this link.

Number 2 – The Tempest.  Our main production for Autumn 2018 is about to start rehearsals and tickets are available online, so get buying.  Details of the Station Theatre presentations here

Number 3 – Besieged is our Spring 2019 production at the Square Tower, with Vin Adams’ original work about the Civil War siege of Portsmouth now fully cast.  Ticketing details will be released later this year.

Crazy Crazy Nights

It’s all go with the SSA at the moment.  Not only are Aaron and David starting to get The Tempest together, but we also have the ongoing workshops for Vin’s Besieged original production – don’t forget to check our Facebook pages for that one.  On top of these two, we have the New Directors production – following on from the huge success of last year’s event, we are again asking members who have never directed before to stage scenes that explore a particular theme.  The expo for this production, which will see the new directors outlining their visions and discussing their cast requirements, will be on Tuesday 12th June, 7.30pm at HQ – make sure you don’t miss it.

Finally (as if there isn’t enough already!) a big “good luck” to the Songologues crew, who are reviving this SSA favourite as part of the Front Room event at Southsea Castle on Thursday 28th June – happy non-singing to you all!

We’ll Meet Again

A few dates for the diary

The SSA AGM will be held on Wednesday 16th May, 19.30 at HQ.  All members should already have received an email about this from our secretary.  I’m not going to lie, it isn’t the most exciting event in the SSA calendar, but it is really important and it gives all our members the chance to have a say in how their company is run – so please come along

In March 2019 we will presenting Vin Adams’ original work about the Siege of Portsmouth during the English Civil War.  The expo and auditions will be held in July or August (tba), but there will also be a few sessions where SSA members will “road test” some scenes.  The dates have already been put out on our Facebook page, so have a look there if you’re interested.