Category Archives: Hastings


JerusalemWe went to see Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem in that London yesterday. As has been already noted, it’s a fine production of a wonderfully messy play. Do go and see it if you can (it’s sold out for the current run).

Mark Rylance heads up a company that revels in the revels. The audience (even in our restricted view area) were rapt for the whole three hours. It gives you faith in theatre again.

We decided that Rooster Byron would fit in very well in Hastings. Every third bloke there is a pirate, a shaman, a storyteller and/or a dealer.

The play has set me of on a new line of research for next year’s character at Bodiam. I’ve ordered some books on English folk tales and folklore.

That London was a bit disappointing. There are very few Christmas decorations and the place felt a bit grim. Buck Palace is illuminated, but only up to the levels of an East European railway terminus. Perhaps it’s a theme.


The Saturday Storylines event at the Hastings Storytelling Festival went well in the end.

There were four of us storytellers, all with differing levels of experience. We had the morning and afternoon to hone the pieces with the help of Chrissie, a writer / theatre director, and Jamie, a professional storyteller.

My piece – a ten minute story about a father and son (no surprise there) – went through several iterations. I didn’t write down the piece beforehand: I know that storytelling is an oral tradition and wanted to honour that. It also took me out of my comfort zone, which pleased the masochist in me.

I hadn’t realised that traditional storytelling is quite reserved and subtle. My ‘style’ is fairly histrionic (it’s harder to hit a moving target). I did manage to pull it back through the day, but it was still quite dynamic in performance.

The venues for the promenade evening performance were superb. A Second World War sea mine on the street, an atmospheric artist’s studio, the Shipwreck museum and, for me, the Fishermen’s museum.

I’d loved to have seen Joe, Dave and Roisin perform their pieces to an audience but I was busy giving four performances of my piece to the promenaders. The audience and I were on the deck of a fishing boat in the museum hall. It was pretty well received I think.

Thanks to the venues, MSL Projects, Margaret Sheehy, Jamie Crawford, Christine Harmar-Brown, Jane Bruce, Kate Francis, Nikki Tomsett, Hilary Lane and Suzan Aral for a great day.

Storylines, Hastings

StorylinesI’m going to be performing at the Hastings Storytelling Festival on the evening of Saturday 12th November.

I applied for a workshop and I got in. It’s a bit of a surprise but I’m hoping that my interpretation work at the castle will help me get through it. It’ll be a 10 minute story which people will see as part of a promenade around venues on the Stade. Should be fun.

Festival schedule

Festival schedule

Hastings Bonfire

Bonfires are different down South. I’d heard tales of the Lewes festivities, but there’s nothing like being there to get the full experience.

The parade

People in prisoners arrows carry torches in the parade

Last Saturday was Hastings’ bonfire night. Thousands of people packed the front to see the parade consisting of torch carrying zombies, pirates, prisoners, skull-headed drummers, Normans, Tommies and the like. A carnival of the night which conjured up resonances with the Mexican day of the dead. Not at all like Diwali or the Guy Fawkes nights of my childhood.



The bonfire (labelled with ‘Bankers’ and ‘Politicians’) was enormous and terrifying. The firework display was spectacular.

Every year they blow up an effigy of somebody demonised in the news. This year they chose Hoodies who they associated with the rioters (not a 1:1 match there, guys). They certainly blew it to kingdom come.

The bonfire

The camera phone fails to capture the terrifying intensity (and size) of the fire

Hastings in the mist

A trip to Hastings today – 12 minutes on the train. A strange low cloud was blowing about above the town making it quite other worldly.

Hastings Castle almost engulfed in cloud

Hastings Castle almost engulfed in cloud

The East Hill lift

The East Hill lift

We decided not to use the East Hill lift today. Pat says the Country Park at the summit is a gem.

A closer view of the lift

A closer view of the lift

The Stade

The Stade

The Stade is the home to Europe’s largest beach launched fishing fleet.

Next to the fishing museum

Next to the fishing museum

.The museum

The museum

We enjoyed the fishermen’s museum. There’s also a shipwreck museum, but we left that until next time


A picture of Biddy - a man who used to paddle round in a tub - in his tub!