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Stevie production coming to Hilderstone

PUBLISHED: 07:29 28 April 2013

Joanna Slater as Stevie and Janice Lynn as Aunt

Joanna Slater as Stevie and Janice Lynn as Aunt

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Three dates for biographical performance

The Broadstairs Dickens Players will be presenting their latest production of Stevie at the Sarah Thorne Theatre Club.

The play will be at the Memorial Theatre in Hilderstone on Friday May 10, Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12.

The play follows the life and career of the poet Stevie Smith in a mixture of biography, autobiography and narration. The original script only called for a cast of three, but the director Michael Flagg has included two ‘readers’ of Stevie’s poetry.

During the play, the readers bring Stevie’s poems to life giving dramatic emphasis to this poignant production.

The play takes place in a small semi-detached house in North London, where Stevie (born Florence Margaret Smith) lived with her formidable elderly aunt. Her tragic-comic life is portrayed by means of her own reminiscences, comments and scenes with various characters in her life, portrayed by ‘The Man’. Although many of Stevie’s poems draw heavily on her resentment at her father, who abandoned her at three years old, and her own obsession with Death, this play is full of comedy and wit.

At five years old, Stevie was sent to a sanatorium near Broadstairs for three years to get the bracing air because she had developed tubercular peritonitis. She began writing poetry in her twenties while working at George Newnes and her first book was published in 1936. She won many awards during her lifetime, including the Cholmondeley Award for Poets in 1966 for probably her best poem ‘Not Waving But Drowning’.

The play takes place during the 1950’s and 60’s, up to her death at the age of 69. It stars award winning local actress Joanna Slater as Stevie who is ably supported by other well-known local thespians Janice Lynn, Peter Such, Janice Biggs and Susan Laverick. The play gives a fascinating insight into the complicated character that was Stevie Smith and will appeal to not only fans of her work, but anyone interested in superb drama, thoughtfully and cleverly brought to life. Stevie was filmed in 1978 and starred Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne. Tickets are available from Sarah Thorne Theatre Club on 0845 2626263 at £8 for members and £10 non members. Non members must book at least 24 hours in advance.

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