Playwright, builder and compere Adrian Bunting passed away in May, one month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Before his death he put in place plans to construct Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) in Dyke Road Park. SOURCE spoke to the BOAT crew.
What were Adrian’s interests?
Adrian was seldom without a cigarette and never without an opinion. In the early 90s he was founder, MC and ringmaster of the legendary Brighton cabaret Zincbar and he wrote, directed and produced the award-winning play Kemble’s Riot. He was also a builder and construction manager, an inveterate inventor and an evangelical atheist with a robust interest in women, cryptic crosswords and croquet.
Why was Dyke Road Park chosen?
In April the council asked for ideas for the defunct bowling green. It was Adrian’s local park for 25 years and he’d drawn up plans of the perfect theatre space, utilizing his considerable experience and his construction know-how to take on the problems of open air productions. When he fell ill he gathered his friends, described his vision, gave them his plans and asked them to see the BOAT to fruition. He left them £18,000 and his complete faith. Adrian died on 11 May, knowing the BOAT would float.
What will BOAT be like?
It will be the only open air theatre of its kind, lawned and landscaped, with state of the art sound and lighting, and other bespoke features. The planning process starts now and we’re looking to launch the BOAT in time for next year’s Brighton Festival.
How did the Dome benefit come together?
Adrian’s friend Susan Murray put the show together in double-quick time. Ade managed Jo Neary for a while and knew all the performers from countless Edinburgh Festivals. The Dome have shown their support too and are giving us the venue at cost, bless them. Tickets are £20 and every penny goes to the BOAT.
How can people assist with the project?
The BOAT is for everyone. You can donate via our Facebook page (Facebook.com/BrightonOpenAirTheatre) or, better still, come along to the Dome show on the 16th.
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