The artistic team – Claque Theatre’s Jon Oram, Flying Pickets founder member David Brett, and Toby Cornwell of theatre company Get Out Of My Space – created the open-air promenade play to reflect people’s feelings about the pandemic and lockdowns, which had a severe effect on all communities.
Happy Highways is Claque Theatre’s second play in a project supported by the Arts Council to develop devising plays with the whole community.
It is set in 2041 and Rusthall Common’s Happy Valley is up for auction. Could a combination of circumstances in the past save it?
Jon Oram said: “I want you to imagine that the ghosts of Rusthall Common are coming back. They surface to walk above ground, visit their old haunts and replay their past lives in our present.”
The stories are set over the past 200 years and the audience are divided into three groups to follow one-story and witness fragments of others.
The tales reveal whether the Rusthall village people, while struggling with their demons at home, rose to the occasion to rescue a group of desperate refugees.
Co-organiser Mary-Jane Stevens added: “Happy Highways is a beautiful show with a big heart as well as a powerful message, which has become all the more poignant as we have been working on it.
“It went really well this summer. The earlier shows sold out and we have fantastic feedback from audience members.”
For more information and tickets, visit: communityplays.com
Happy Highways Photo: © Jon Oram
Happy Valley Photo: © Sarah Bond