Applause Rural Touring and South Downs National Park announce Full Harvest – a series of audio stories and poems inspired by the South Down landscape available as podcasts this summer.
Seven writers have been commissioned to pen ten audio stories/poems. The writers are an exciting mix of established writers and early career authors who will each provide their unique perspective on the much-loved South Downs landscape. Each writer is focusing on one of the magical rivers that weave across the landscape.
Listeners will be able to access these stories through listening aps like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast and Pockets Casts. Audiences can plug in and listen while they walk and explore the landscape or enjoy at home.
Sara Clifford – focussing on the River Ouse and Adur
Sara studied English at Manchester University and has an MA in Screenwriting. Her first play, Some Sunny Day, was selected by both Paines Plough and the Soho theatre, as part of their Writers’ Development programmes, and she has gone on to write over forty plays including commissions for the Soho Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Nottingham Playhouse, and her work has been produced in France, Italy, Guadeloupe and Hong Kong.
As Writer/ Artistic Director of her company, Inroads, she works with local communities to create place-based work rooted in their stories. Sara will be writing two audio stories for Full Harvest and will explore the River Ouse and the River Adur, she is interested in exploring how the river has shaped the local community and its stories from industry and jobs, to the environment and leisure and how local people view it today.
Lucy Flannery – focussing on the River Meon and Itchen
Lucy’s writing career has included: working with Alison Stead and Roy Hudd on Like A Daughter, a drama for BBC Radio 4, being commissioned to write an original play, Tomorrow Will Be Too Late, as part of the D-Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration and writing Nan a one-minute monologue created during lockdown for Ink Festival. She has worked on the Chichester Festival Theatre’s playwriting course and most recently as Writer-In-Residence at the University of Plymouth. She is both an artistic practitioner and an FE College Governor, she is experienced in working with young people.
Sarah Hehir – focussing on the River Ouse
Sarah has been a writer, dramatist and a drama teacher for over 20 years. She performed at Kosovo’s International Literary Festival in 2019, and in 2013 she won the BBC Writer’s Prize for a radio drama Bang Upwhere the North Downs became part of the narrative and was broadcast as the afternoon drama on Radio 4. An accomplished writer for Theatre, Film, Radio and TV she was recently chosen as the commissioned poet on the Turner Prize ‘Connect together’ a project using words and ideas collected through community workshops to create an epic poem about the journey from London to Margate.
A.G.G. – focussing on the River Cuckmere
A.G.G. is a writer and essayist from London. Through literature, he explores a variety of themes including masculinity, belonging, trauma, love, crime and rehabilitation. Photography and filmmaking, are additional mediums he employs as forms of expression. After completing his education he went on to work in a variety of creative roles, most recently as a workshop facilitator addressing gang culture and youth violence across the Capital. He recently signed his first book deal, which is due to be published later this year.
Rosanna Lowe – focusssing on the River Arun
Rosanna is an experienced writer, theatre director and performer. Theatre work has included devised work for The Young Vic and La Mama NY and writing two community plays for Wellingborough Castle. She has worked in travel writing, winning awards with the Royal Geographical Society Award and The Times Young Travel Writer. She wrote Volcanoland, a travel narrative about Guatemala, collecting extraordinary stories and testimonies about the civil war and its aftermath. In 2019, she was the commissioned writer on the Goonhilly Village Green Project, a multidisciplinary festival celebrating the nature, heritage and community of Goonhilly Downs.
She has worked on engagement projects with arts organisation MSL in Hastings and created a set of audio story poems called Ordinary Extraordinary based on Hastings residents. Rosanna has run a creative writing programme for women in Holloway Prison and writing for wellbeing sessions online for Arts on Prescription, which caters for people with health inequalities including M.E., depression, anxiety, PTSD and brain injury.
Theo Toksvig-Stewart – focusing on the River Rother
Theo is a dyslexic writer and actor. His play Endless Second was shortlisted for the Holden Street Theatre Award and the Sit Up Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. The play transferred to the Park Theatre and Pleasance Islington as part of each venue’s ‘Best of the Fringe’ season and was commissioned as an audio drama for BBC Radio 4.
In 2020 Theo was commissioned by Warts and All Theatre to write an adaptation of Robyn Hood developed with children in care in Wellingborough. He was part of the BBC Writersroom Drama Room Scheme 2019/2020 and the 2021 Minack Emerging Playwrights Programme.
Merrie Williams – focussing on the Hidden river in Brighton
Merrie Joy Williams is a poet, novelist and editor. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Poetry Prize, longlisted for the 2020 National Poetry Competition, and is a winner of The Poetry Archive’s ‘Wordview 2020’ competition, permanently featured on their website. She is the recipient of a London Writers Award, and Arts Council England awards for poetry and fiction.
Merrie is passionate about collaborations, as well as residencies and commissions, which help keep her writing practice fresh and evolving. She was a poet-in-residence with MMU Special Collections and Manchester Poetry Library, who are currently releasing an illustrated broadside of one of her poems. Her most recent residency was with Historic England, in partnership with Spread the Word, commissioned to research and write one of their High Street Tales (Woolwich).
Merrie has read or discussed her work in various places, including The Southbank Festival, The Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival, and BBC Radio. Poems been published in Poetry Wales, The Interpreter’s House, The Good Journal, and elsewhere. Her debut collection is Open Windows (Waterloo Press,2019).
Find out more about South Downs National Park.