Cherry Soup – True and Not So True Tales of the South Downs
A one person show by Sara Clifford
Inn Crowd and South Downs Writer in Residence Sara Clifford, a playwright and community arts practitioner based in Lewes, has spent the last few months chatting to over 500 people across the Downs – from museum volunteers, school children and pub goers, to people at family creative workshops, walking groups and village fetes. She has weaved the stories gathered into a new one person show, Cherry Soup which will be performed in nine different pub and community locations across the South Downs in September by local actor and comedian Jo Neary, directed by Anna Crilly.
“The South Downs needs to be conserved, but also dynamic and open to new people coming in with new ideas. It’s not a museum piece! It’s a living, breathing space with many different kinds of people within it. My show reflects this and I hope as many people as possible will spare an hour to come and see it!” Sara Clifford
A Cherry-Seller sits by the side of the road. We’ve all seen them.
People stop, people buy cherries and people chat. They tell their stories: of ancient farms and modern fetes; of lost skills and identities; of overgrown orchards and the ghosts of the villages – and bring new stories, different ideas and different cultures.
Weaving the stories of the people Sara Clifford met during her research as the Inn Crowd Writer in Residence, with tales of the history and culture of the Downs, this one-person show will explore the changing landscapes and populations of the Park – as well as how the history of cherries is also the history of Southern England.
Touring pubs and community venues across the South Downs, performed with text, music and humour, the show will ask questions about the past, present and future of the Park.
This is not about nostalgia – this is a Cherry Soup of a show: sweet and sour and a little unexpected…
Tour Dates: click here for dates and more information.
Who is the Writer in Residence?
Sara Clifford is a playwright and community arts practitioner based in Lewes. She spent time talking to a variety of people from different parts of the park, from the rural farmlands to the coastal areas to the busy towns at a wide range of different workshops and community events, and has weaved all the responses into a new one person show to be performed in pubs in the autumn.
“Since April, I have been meeting with and talking to a fantastic range of people in and around the South Downs National Park. Together with my artist colleagues, we have written poems, drawn pictures, made felt stones, dramatized ‘adverts’ for the Park, and talked and talked. I have sat on stalls at fetes in sunshine and rain, interviewed elders at lunch clubs, run drama workshops in schools and with youth theatres, and hosted family drop-ins in tiny country pubs. By the middle of July, we will have run events in Newhaven, Litlington, Lodsworth, Pulborough, Bowdon, Slindon and Winchester, right across the park.”
“Now my research process is coming to an end, and I am about to start writing a one- person show that will somehow encapsulate this love of the land and its rich detail. The shows will be performed in 9 locations across the park, linked to these community events, and we hope that those involved will come to see the outcome, as well as the wider community.”
In a partnership between Applause Rural Touring and the South Downs National Park Authority, Sara Clifford, Writer in Residence 2019, is creating a new one person show inspired by the national park to tour to pubs in September. We want to hear from you to help her shape the performance.
Please contribute your thoughts and stories here.