Arts Council success for East 15

  • Date

    Tue 13 Jun 17

An East 15 Acting School graduate has been awarded £15,000 funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England to develop a new community play for Southend as part of the Borough Council’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Ines Sampaio, who completed the BA World Performance degree course last summer, now runs CapaTaro, a Southend-based theatre company, which successfully bid for one of the first New Company Awards from the University of Essex, enabling them to launch their own production, Glaucoma, last year.

With this new funding Ines will be working with local people to prepare a play called Hey Billy, this is just the beginning, in response to Billy Bragg’s words: ‘Southend’s the end’ in his hit song A13, Truck Road to the Sea. The production will debut on Saturday 12 August outside The Forum in Southend.

Ines is now asking people from across the community to participate in the project. She said: “Our theatre is open to everyone and a community play can only be made when the community is involved.”

She came up with the idea after working as music director for the International Shakespeare Festival in Romania where about 80 members of the public became involved in a production of Romeo and Juliet: “It was so inspiring, “ she said, “and the group continues to meet even now.”

As part of the project Ines is creating the Southend’s People’s Choir, which will meet at The Old Waterworks, North Road, Southend-on-Sea every Tuesday from 20 June 6.00 pm until 8.00 pm.

She is also setting up free theatre workshops at the home of East 15 Acting School, Clifftown Theatre in Nelson Mews, every Sunday from 2 July 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm.

“The choir and the theatre workshops are drop-in activities and you don’t need any experience – everyone is welcome,” says Ines.

“I came to England on my own from Portugal and Southend has quickly become my home. I loved my course at East 15, not only did I train as a performer but also as a theatre maker and it is so valuable to be versatile and be able to produce and create your own work. If you can’t find a job, then you can create one!”


She’s also asking people to contact her with a Southend story from the past, present or future. You can either email or pick up as postcard in the library, at SAVs (Southend Adult Volunteers) in Alexandra Street and The Old Waterworks.