Amateur dramatics perform Pratchett classic

The Fifth Elephant, a previous production of Collingwood RSC at the New Theatre Royal

The Fifth Elephant, a previous production of Collingwood RSC at the New Theatre Royal

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Although famously associated with his iconic Discworld series, Terry Pratchett’s novels have been finding a different outlet in the form of plays.

Written by Stephen Briggs, Jingo is a tale about the island of Leshp that rises from the sea, resulting in major conflicts between nations, that is until it disappears beneath the waves once more.

The Collingwood RSC, or The Random Salad Company, who are based in Fareham are famed for putting on Terry Pratchett adaptions. Their version of the Pratchett classic will be showing at the New Theatre Royal next week.

Steven Jones, producer of the show and a member of the company said: ‘Two armies fight over this piece of land that rises out of the sea, and it does so because all the gases build up.

‘It’s a very theatrical show, and I suppose it’s a bit like East versus West.

‘At the end the gases disperse and the island is lost again. It seems a simple message but there is a complicated story behind it.’

The company has put on three productions a year, with Steven producing a great many of them. After their Christmas pantomime, Cinderella, he plans to step down.

He says: ‘When it comes to my role in producing shows I am cutting down because we are encouraging new people to join. The problem is that our shows rarely involve new people.

‘We just want people to join and to come watch, and to enjoy themselves.’

Originally starting in 2003, they pride themselves in concentrating mainly on Terry Pratchett stage productions and have performed many over the years including Men At Arms. Weird Sisters and Masquerade.

Steven adds: ‘ When we first started in 2003 it was a trial and a disaster but what we said was if we do it again then people will start to know we are here.

‘People got used to a certain event every year at a certain time. It wasn’t until 2006 that we didn’t make a loss on it, as it took people a while to understand what we were trying to do.

‘We get a small grant but mainly fund ourselves, although we aren’t a charity.

However, the best part about it is the praise they received from the man who originally adapted the famous novels, Stephen Briggs, who not only runs his own company that specialises in that, but has been to see some of Collingwood RSC’s productions.

Steven adds: ‘He has seen quite a few of our shows. I think it was Men At Arms when he turned around to me and said ‘I don’t think I can beat what you do on stage. With praise like that you cant be going to far wrong.’

Tickets: £8 - £10 New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth (023) 9264 9000 or newtheatreroyal.com.

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