Trouble in paradise

Pitcairn explores what happened after the events of the mutiny on the Bounty.
Pitcairn explores what happened after the events of the mutiny on the Bounty.
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Award-winning playwright Richard Bean unveils the second of his three world premieres to be staged this year, prior to London and a national tour.

Pitcairn is a gripping island story that charts how dreams of a modern society of equals in Paradise are blown off-course, following the infamous mutiny on The Bounty.

Rehearsals for Pitcairn - Richard Bean - Out of Joint, Chichester, and Shakespeare's Globe - 25 July 2014 PPP-140819-133930001

Rehearsals for Pitcairn - Richard Bean - Out of Joint, Chichester, and Shakespeare's Globe - 25 July 2014 PPP-140819-133930001

This compelling new play forms part of Chichester Festival Theatre’s Hidden Histories season, exploring little known stories springing from historical events and is a co-production with Out Of Joint and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Pitcairn opens in 1789, when revolution is in the air. In France, a monarchy falls and in the South Pacific, Fletcher Christian overthrows his captain in the famous mutiny on The Bounty.

Christian drops anchor at the fertile and remote island of Pitcairn, but his dreams of Eden are destroyed by the greed and suspicions of his fellow sailors and by the islanders’ rigid adherence to their hierarchy and traditions.

There is a chance for theatre-goers to ask questions, meet the company and discover more about Pitcairn on Tuesday. On Wednesday at 6pm there will be a pre-show talk with writer Richard Bean and director Max Stafford-Clark, chaired by author Kate Mosse. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance through the box office.

Pitcairn opens at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester tonight at 7.45pm and runs until September 20. Pitcairn contains strong language and scenes of a sexual nature so the age guideline for the production is 16 and over.

Tickets: £24 - £33, 16 – 25-year-olds: £8.50. For those aged 16 – 25, Live Nights! accompany the £8.50 tickets, offering participants the chance to arrive early to meet the company, tour the set or visit backstage. Pitcairn Live Night! is on Thursday September 18 from 6.25pm.

Call 01243 781312 or visit cft.org.uk for details and to book tickets.

The missing piece

Pitcairn director Max Stafford-Clark thinks that everybody knows about the mutiny on the Bounty.

‘But nobody really knows what happens next,’ claims Max. ‘It’s the missing piece in the jigsaw that we are restoring.

‘Fletcher Christian thought he could establish utopia. Tom Paine’s Rights Of Man had been published. Christian would have known about alternative systems of government and it was the same year as the French Revolution.

‘But Fletcher’s attempt was flawed by the sexism and racism of the sailors themselves. They made the mistake of dividing the island without giving any to the native men. The native men revolted, borrowed the muskets and they shot six of the white men in one day including Fletcher Christian.’

The optimistic view of Christian is that he dreamt of better things, but sadly his shipmates did not share his ideals. He was radical for that time, but he would be seen now as very conservative. His weakness was that in order to create this democracy, he stepped away from being the leader, and other people stepped into the void. I don’t think he predicted or saw the dangers.’

PHIL HEWITT