A scene from 1 Beach Road

Theatre performance turns back the tide

A play that looks at the metaphorical connections between coastal erosion and memory loss provides the basis for the latest play by University of Exeter Senior Drama Lecturer Rebecca Loukes’ award winning company, RedCape Theatre.

1 Beach Road, draws on the real life events of coastal erosion in Norfolk and the effects of Alzheimer’s.  In the performance the sea relentlessly swallows first the road, then the row of bungalows, and finally eats its way to the back door of the Bed and Breakfast “1 Beach Road”, where the inhabitants, Victoria and Jane, refuse to budge. This tale of friendship, coastal erosion, Alzheimer’s, synchronized swimming and trying to turn back the tide, asks the question “what is it like to lose everything - your home and your memories?”

Rebecca Loukes is co-artistic director of RedCape with Cassie Friend, 1 Beach Road is directed by Sabina Nethercliff, written by Solveig Holum and stars Cassie Friend and Catherine Dyson. Loukes said: “RedCape Theatre is committed to telling true stories that matter, move and entertain – inspired by ordinary people in extraordinary situations. We devise our work by combining factual material, images, music and pieces of text and improvising around these ideas until a story begins to emerge.”

The starting point for 1 Beach Road was a picture in a newspaper of a house on the edge of a cliff about to fall into the sea. This began a process of research that started in Happisburgh, Norfolk with interviews with local people. It also involved lessons in coastal erosion, through collaboration with University of Exeter geographer Professor Richard Brazier. This process also encompassed exploring early onset dementia.”

Rebecca Loukes’ work integrates research, practice and teaching.  Her work with RedCape forms a major part of her research activities and their approach to making performance through physical theatre and movement underpins her teaching. The theatre company’s first production, The Idiot Colony was the winner of Edinburgh Fringe First and Total Theatre Award for visual theatre, 2008 and informs a number of Loukes’ current publications. 1 Beach Road is Pick of the Week in The Guardian this week, and is being performed at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, Drum studio theatre until Saturday 4 November.

1 Beach Road is produced by Turtle Key Arts and funded by Arts Council England. It was supported by South Street, Reading, The Point, Eastleigh and the University of Exeter.

Date: 30 October 2012