The next couple of weeks will be particularly busy for director Julian Sluggett as he takes on two productions at Titchfield Festival Theatre that are near enough back-to-back.
From Thursday until Saturday next week, Titchfield Youth Theatre is performing children’s author Robert Swindells’s Room 13, while from November 21 until December 1, Titchfield Festival Theatre takes on Alan Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors.
Julian is currently working on rehearsals for both at the same time, not that he minds.
He says: ‘I love them both and they are both great pieces of work that are fun to do.’
Room 13 is a 1989 horror novel about Fliss Morgan, who has a prescient nightmare before a school trip to Whitby, And sure enough, as soon as she arrives in the seaside town a series of strange events begins to occur.
Julian has adapted the novel specifically for the group’s production. He says: ‘It’s a lot better writing it myself because I can write for the young people I have in mind to play the part.
‘You can write it around the individual and craft the script, which is good. I love the way the book grabs their imagination.’
Julian adds: ‘I thought there’s potential here for theatre. I’m always on the look-out for good stories for kids and it’s one of those stories where you can have a big cast too. It just ticks all the boxes.’
Following on from the run is a production of the 1994 Communicating Doors, which is set in a hotel suite that moves through time from 1974 to 2014. The central character, prostitute Poopay, must save herself from the murderous Julian by preventing the murders of Reece’s first and second wives.
Julian says: ‘It’s always good fun to do an Ayckbourn because he’s such a clever writer and Communicating Doors is absolutely brilliant. It’s so funny and as a comedy, it’s the sheer brilliance and technique of the writing that makes it.
‘You need good people to be able to process it and get to the truth of those characters. That’s where the comedy lies and it really is a totally believable situation. There’s a great theatre aspect to it.’
Tickets for Room 13 are £6.50, and Communicating Doors £9-£11 from Titchfield Festival Theatre on (01329) 556156 or go to titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com