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Brighton Open Air Theatre

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Theatre : Brighton Open Air Theatre


ADRIAN BUNTING
1966-2013
Adrian Bunting was a playwright, theatre maker and construction manager. A guiding light in Brighton’s arts scene, Adrian was at his most triumphant as creator and MC of the legendary Zincbar cabaret. Staged every fortnight, the Zincbar was a gloriously unpredictable crucible into which both gold and rubbish were thrown: comedians, poets and situationists alike. Adrian celebrated them all, rousing the audience at the end of each act with: “Wasn’t that magnificent?”
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After the Zincbar nights, construction proved to be Adrian’s passport to the world. He travelled to Brazil, project-managed builds in Tanzania and Antigua, and in 1998 worked on Njaya Lodge, a hotel on Lake Malawi, where he applied the unusual idea of constructing an environmentally friendly building from sandbags. It still stands today.

In his forties Adrian refined his theatrical philosophy. “Theatre’s not film,” he said. “I want the audience to be part of the show.” His play, Kemble’s Riot – part panto, part satire – cast the audience as rioters in a play about the Old Price Riots at Covent Garden theatre in 1809. It was a smash hit, winning the Best Play prize at the Brighton Festival in 2011 and rave reviews at Edinburgh the following year.

Adrian’s plans to write more plays were sadly curtailed when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2013. He died four weeks later, aged 47.

During those final weeks Adrian drew up plans for what he hoped would become his legacy: The Brighton Open Air Theatre (B•O•A•T). It had always been his dream to build an open theatre in the city that he loved. Adrian initiated the designs, found the perfect site – the former bowling lawn at Dyke Road Park – and arranged for his life’s savings (£18,000) to be left to the project. Finally, on a bright spring day, Adrian asked five of his friends if they would continue his dream after he had gone.

THE CONCEPT
With a lawned stage, bespoke acoustic design, raked seating wide enough for friends and family to stretch out with a cold beer or a picnic, the Brighton Open Air Theatre is set to become the perfect destination for summer nights of magic. It will be a green jewel, Adrian Bunting’s gift to the city he loved.

Brighton Open Air Theatre will be a cultural and community resource, run for the benefit of the city’s creative community, residents and visitors. A seasonal venue for outdoor performance, spoken word, debate and occasional screenings and a year-round landscaped quiet and creative space.

The proposal is led by a voluntary committee that comprises professional theatre makers, writers, arts educationalists, a construction project manager and a senior arts manager, with support from hundreds of people in the creative community.

B•O•A•T will be a grassed amphitheatre with wide lawned terraces leading down to a sunken flat thrust lawned stage. A sound wall will be constructed to provide an acoustic cushion and a back stage wall for exits and entrances.
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B•O•A•T will operate from the beginning of May to the end of September each year and will provide a space for local artists alongside national touring productions. The programme will primarily be theatre and spoken word but will also include screenings and public talks.

The space will be designed and landscaped so that during its down time it will be an attractive, quiet space to sit and relax. The space will be freely open to the public when not in use for performances. There will be free Wi-Fi to encourage people to utilise the space for outdoor working or recreational use.

The venue will be self-sufficient. Income from box office splits will help to meet the ongoing running and maintenance costs. Community use will be subsidised through donations and grant aid. Additional specific grant funding and sponsorship will cover the costs of special programmes and activities.

We have made excellent links with the immediate local community and in particular with the Friends of Dyke Road Park. We will continue with work with FoDRP on future plans for the site and upkeep of the community planting.


B•O•A•T
“Life is all about having dreams and following them”
Adrian Bunting 1966-2013
adrian bunting
the concept

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Brighton Open Air Theatre will be a cultural and community resource, run for the benefit of the city’s creative community, residents and visitors. A seasonal venue for outdoor performance, spoken word, debate and occasional screenings and a year-round landscaped quiet and creative space.


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