Whitstable has long been celebrated for its annual events and activities, plus a very vibrant live music scene and visual arts community. With the ever popular Oyster Festival, the historic Carnival, the fantastic Harbour Day and now Whit Lit, this town leads the way in Kent for creativity and culture.
Kent Coast Theatre (KCT), is based in at The Horsebridge Centre in Whitstable, compliments and works alongside these events and adds to the unique fabric in this very eclectic town. Founded in July 2015 by Lou Fowkes and Alison Mead, KCT aims to champion new writing, challenge and re-work traditional plays and perform in interesting and non-theatre spaces. Above all, we offer local actors the chance to perform in a professional environment, working to a high level of expertise, with advice, support and guidance. We are also delighted that our Patron is Whitstable resident and acclaimed actor of theatre, film, TV and radio Raymond Coulthard.
KCT ran its first Acting Course in the Autumn of 2015 at Whitstable Castle. The ten weeks covered theatre disciplines such as performance skills, text work, improvisation, physical and vocal techniques, character building and Commedia. The group of fifteen actors then presented selected scenes from well-known plays at a ‘Showcase Evening’, at The Horsebridge, in front of an invited audience of friends and family. The reaction and response on the night was truly overwhelming and immensely positive. KCT has continued its educational programme in both 2016 and 2017 in order to develop our actors’ technique in theatre performance. And of course, we will once again be running the course in 2018.
Our debut production ‘Animal Farm’ written by George Orwell in 1945, took place at The Horsebridge Centre in the July of 2016. Reflecting on the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, it was a challenging and thought-provoking piece of theatre that our audiences thoroughly responded to in a hugely positive way.
Our 2017 production ‘Women of Kent’ was a trilogy of new writing, exploring the lives and loves of three famous women of Kent; Anne Boleyn, Ellen Terry and Vita Sackville-West. These new plays were performed at both the Arden Theatre in Faversham and at Whitstable Castle Tea Gardens (open air). This was a very exciting development for the theatre company and offered local audiences a very different theatrical experience. Our 2018 production will have its first read-through on Monday 5 February at the Horsebridge from 7pm. Any new local actors and those interested in stage crew or production would be most welcome.
For the last two years we have provided outdoor theatre at Harbour Day, with specific children’s shows with a nautical theme, that will delight and enthral our young audiences. Once again we will be performing on the Desk at Dead Man’s Corner in 2018 for this year, which takes place on Saturday 4 August.
KCT Aims & Objectives
- To commission and produce new and exciting theatre, that engages and involves the local communities of East Kent.
- To re-work traditional plays and identify, encourage and showcase new and emerging playwrights from the East Kent area.
- To use traditional theatre venues, non-theatre spaces and site specific venues, to encourage diverse audiences.
- To offer local actors the chance to perform in a professional environment, working to a high level of expertise, with advice, support and guidance.
- To provide acting workshops on a regular basis, covering such disciplines as performance skills, improvisation, physical and vocal techniques, text work, character building and audition training.
- To work with cultural providers, the business sector and other regional partners, to maximise the reach and impact of the KCT experience.
- To develop the KCT brand and create innovative partnerships through association with organisations in East Kent, the South East Region and where appropriate, nationwide.
- To develop theatre by and for people that encourages interaction and pride of place within the community, ensuring that productions are fully accessible to all members of the community.
- To allow each KCT Member to discover and develop new and existing talents and skills and encourage them to achieve their full potential.
- To ensure each Member is a valued and important part of the KCT Company.
The Kent Coast Theatre Team
Alison Mead – Artistic Director
Alison Mead is an experienced actor with credits in theatre, film and television.
Roles have included Gertrude in ‘Hamlet’, Lady Bracknell in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, Joyce in ‘Bone Harvest’ (tour for Eastern Angles Theatre Company) and the Female Chorus in ‘Murder in the Cathedral.’ Television and Film roles include one brief appearance in ‘Wycliffe’ and the role of Peggy Haywood in ‘Casualty’ entailed lying with a (fake) broken leg for a week during filming!
Alison has written and produced three of her own plays and is currently developing the fourth; ‘Politic Man’, which was presented to great critical acclaim in London.
Her directing credits include ‘Macbeth’ at the Scoop on London’s South Bank, a co-production of two Pinter plays for Impulse Theatre company and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?’ at the Landor Theatre Clapham.
Alison was acting tutor at Arts Ed London and also ran classes for adults at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. She has run workshops for Ambassadors Theatre Group on ‘The Rivals’, ‘The History Boys’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Sweeney Todd.’ She continues to work for colleges and schools and has recently taught Acting for Camera at Canterbury College and Accent Workshops at D and B School of Performing Arts.
Lou Fowkes – Executive Producer
Lou has worked in arts and entertainment for nearly 30 years including stage management, administration, box office, pr/marketing and house management.
As an actress, her performances include ‘The Crucible’,’Blood Brothers’, ‘Liber Amoris’ (UK Tour), ‘When We Are Married’, ‘Conversations With A Golliwog’, ‘Outside Edge’, ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Hot Mikado’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘Nunsense’, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, ‘Barnum’, ‘Children of Eden’, ‘Godspell’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
Lou has directed productions including ‘Confusions’ and ‘The Baker’s Wife.’ She has also devised musical reviews ‘Roundabout The West End’ and ‘Listen.’
Lou has sung in bands for over twenty years and is currently in the process of launching a new band, which will start perofrming in and around the South East from Easter.
Raymond Coulthard – Patron
Whitstable resident and acclaimed actor, Raymond Coulthard has worked extensively in theatre, film, TV and radio.
Having trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 1991, Raymond’s film credits include Chris in ‘The Best Man’, Grigory Alexandrov in ‘Eisenstein’, Rupert Douglas in ‘The English Patient’ and Young Scrooge in ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol.’
His television appearances include Jacob Pasha in ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ (Series 2 & 3), Miles Egerton in ‘Mr Selfridge’ (Series 2 & 3), Major Goodacre in ‘Call The Midwife’, James Schofield in ‘Hotel Babylon’ (Series 1,2,3 & 4), Matt Strong in ‘Casualty’, Mark in ‘Extras’, Archie Christie in ‘Agatha Christie: A Life In Pictures’, Ambassador in ‘Casanova’ and Frank Churchill in ‘Emma.’
Raymond has appeared on stage in the following roles: Celimare in ‘Monsieur Popular’ (Theatre Royal Bath), King George VI in ‘The King’s Speech’ (UK Tour), Hector Hushabye in ‘Heartbreak House’ (Chichester Festival), Bishop Santa Cruz in ‘The Heresy Of Love’ (RSC), Duke Vincentio in ‘Measure For Measure’ (RSC), Hippolito in ‘Women Beware Women’ (National Theatre), Carear in ‘Caligula’ (Donmar Warehouse Theatre), Prince of Arragon in ‘The Merchant Of Venice’ (National Theatre), Christian in ‘Cyrano De Bergerac’ (RSC) and as Rupert Cazalet in ‘The Cazalets’ for BBC Radio.