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This week at the cornerHouse

February 7, 2011

from Celia Harding

We have a busy week ahead at the cornerHOUSE.
There are the oneACTS 2011 auditions with lots of roles for all ages available, as well as a superb and moving show called Lifeboat which is being staged in collaboration with the cornerHOUSE.
Details of the oneACTS auditions and Lifeboat are below.

oneACTS open auditions
Wednesday, February 9 at 7.30pm and Sunday, February 13 from 2-5pm

Fancy acting in a short play? Then the cornerHOUSE oneACTS 2011 could be just the thing for you. Kingston’s most respected platform for original playwriting is looking for actors of all ages to perform in this showcase of local writing talent.

Whether you are an experienced actor or a complete novice, there could be a place for you in one of the oneACTS which will be performed at the cornerHOUSE in Douglas Road, Surbiton, from Monday, April 4 until Saturday, April 9 2011.
This will be the seventh year the arts centre has run the festival, which has become a well established and highly respected event in the local arts scene.
The annual festival of one act plays features short pieces by talented local writers – some serious, some funny, some both.
The plays are only 15 to 30 minutes long, which means that it’s a great opportunity to be involved in a show without a heavy time commitment, but you will still be able to enjoy the buzz of being part of a large, dynamic team of playwrights, directors, actors and crew, all working towards providing a week-long feast of original, quality-driven entertainment.
You can find out more about the festival and how you can be part of it by reading oneACTS 2011 – guidance which is on our website or by emailing
So why not come to our open auditions at the cornerHOUSE on either Wednesday, February 9, 2011 from 7.30pm or Sunday, February 13, 2011 from 2-5pm to see what it is all about? All you need to bring with you is enthusiasm and a willingness to have a go. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Thursday, February 10 to Saturday, February 12 at 8pm
A little play with a big heart comes to the cornerHOUSE in February. 

Lifeboat, the true story of a wartime tragedy, comes to the arts centre in Douglas Road, Surbiton, on Thursday, February 10 to Saturday, February 12 at 8pm.

The award-winning play by Nicola McCartney tells the story of how two young girls survived the sinking of the SS City of Benares which was torpedoed in the Atlantic by a German U-boat on September 17, 1940.

The boat had been carrying 250 passengers, including 90 children, to safety in Canada from war-torn Britain. Only 11 children survived.

Imaginatively staged to show their lives at home, on board ship and their terrifying ordeal in the water, Lifeboat, directed by Rodney Pearson, recounts how Bess Walder aged 15 from London and Beth Cummings aged 14 from Liverpool, clung for 19 hours to an upturned lifeboat waiting for rescue.

It is a tale of survival against huge odds where courage, loyalty and enduring friendship in the face of almost certain death were tested to their limits. The girls simply refused to give up hope. They willed each other to survive.

Pearson, who has directed numerous shows before including Pack of Lies, Dancing at Lughnasa, Under Milk Wood and Brassed Off, to name but a few, said: “The story of the sinking of the SS City of Benares is so important that everybody needs to be reminded of it from time to time.

“This is a little play with a big heart that draws audiences into the story of the two young girls. The audience will travel on a journey with Beth and Bess, becoming involved in their lives before, during and after their shipboard experience.

“Laughter and tears are part of the journey, and the memory of seeing this production will remain with you long after the 55 minutes of the performance.”

Originally commissioned by Catherine Wheels, a Scottish-based theatre company, following publication of a magazine article about the survivors of the SS City of Benares, Lifeboat won the Barclays Theatre Award in 2002 for best new play for children and young people.

It has been professionally performed to great acclaim, and the strength of the story and its dramatization has been appreciated as much by adults as its intended younger audience.

In 2010, the script was adapted as a one-act play by Pearson for the Cobham Players. It went on to win several awards at the Elmbridge and Leatherhead Drama Festivals.

This production of Lifeboat will be supported by readings and music from the period.

This is a production for all ages. Miss it at your peril.

Tickets are £7 (£5 concessions). Box office 020 8296 9012.
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