Dan Houghton as Ben Hur

Brixham theatre company's show to be streamed worldwide at Edinburgh Fringe

Nikki Belso

A Brixham theatre company has streamed its production of Ben Hur to the Edinburgh Fringe – and across the world.

Earlier this year, Brixham-based internationally award-winning theatre company the South Devon Players began planning for their biggest, most ambitious show ever – adapting the tale of Ben Hur for the stage.

While performing at Brixham Theatre before going on tour, Cassandra Drewell filmed the show.

During the pandemic, many theatre companies, including the South Devon Players, began exploring different ways of creating and sharing theatre performances during the lockdowns and for the South Devon Players at least, the connections made with streaming work online to global audiences remained a core part of the recovery once traditional live theatre shows could recommence.

To this end, the South Devon Players now film their in-house productions when being performed live on tour, and then stream online to worldwide audiences.

The Edinburgh Fringe will be streaming Ben Hur on-demand from August 5 to 9 to viewers all over the world.

The show – and theatre company – itself breaks down barriers for creatives.

Directed and produced by a woman of colour – who also founded the South Devon Players, a not-for-profit theatre company based in Brixham, in 2005 and led it to national and international arts awards for previous shows – the show creates opportunities for local actors and creative talent of all backgrounds and levels of experience to showcase their skills towards, or to further, developing a career in theatre and the arts.

The South Devon Players always welcomes people from the local area who would like to get involved in creating theatre and performances, and love to hear from new people at any time.

Laura, director and theatre company founder, is also a member of the Equity trade union directors’ committee, championing regionally and rurally created theatre on a national scale.

The actors and crew for Ben Hur have worked together since September 2021 on this show, in and around their wider lives, jobs, studies, family commitments, creating the costumes and props mostly from recycled materials; choreographing the big action scenes, in line with advice from historical re-enactors, as well as working on the technical logistics for touring this show. – and all on a budget.

The group has also welcomed a sixth form student from Totnes Steiner School, who first came on a placement to explore what it is like creating theatre, and then who asked to stay for this show.

Details about the streaming can be found at www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html and from the Edinburgh Fringe at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ben-hur-the-theatre-show

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