Radio play to be made about Sidmouth

Kate Tobin from the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund grants committee presenting a cheque for

Kate Tobin from the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund grants committee presenting a cheque for the grant offered to SCCH Director Coco Hodgkinson, surrounded by the play’s community cast. - Credit: Archant

A radio play, uncovering Sidmouth’s hidden heritage, is being made thanks to funds from Sid Vale Association (SVA).

Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, organisers of Sidmouth Sea Fest, is delighted to have been awarded money as part of its latest cultural heritage project.

Fish Out Of Water is a play co-written by Pippa Marriott and David Lloyd.

It explores the life of Sidmouth's author and social commentator Stephen Reynolds.

The story was brought to life by a community ensemble at the 2019 Sea Fest event to tie in with its theme of celebrating diversity, and told - with humour, song and personal testimony - Mr Reynolds' moving story.

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Some of the original cast and some new young faces from Sidmouth College and primary school are set to record the play, which has been re-written for radio. The diversity in the cast will reflect the age and soundscapes that would have been part of Mr Reynolds' life.

Mr Reynolds' experience with the Sidmouth fishing family the Woolleys later influenced the fishing industry.

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Mr Reynolds' book 'A Poor Man's House' was published in 1908 and was based on his life in Sidmouth. At the time it was acclaimed and praised by the likes of Joseph Conrad, but is not particularly well known locally.

His personal struggle with his family, his sexuality at a time of intolerance, his reflections on social class and inequality are often overlooked.

Louise Cole, director of Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, said: "The funding SVA have given enables us to bring in specialists with the recording and editing skills and equipment and experience of making and broadcasting radio plays.

"We are excited to be working with 'Ear, Knows and Throat' at Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre - where the recording will take place in their studio."

The play will be broadcast at Sea Fest in May as part of an audio installation.

Sidmouth Sea Fest is a free one-day annual coastal community festival.

This vibrant collaborative festival is aimed at people of all ages to connect the community with everything in, on and by the sea. This year Sidmouth Sea Fest will take place on Saturday, May 16, from 10am until 11pm, at Port Royal, in Sidmouth.

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