A new play, written by Roger Paine, a regular contributor to the Herald, will be performed for the first time from November 16-18 in Kingston, near Lewes.
Entitled ‘The Philadelphia Editor’ it will be staged by The Synergy Theatre Company as part of a double-bill with Alan Bennett’s ‘A Chip in the Sugar’, one of his ‘Talking Heads’ series.
Eastbourne resident, David Parton, artistic director of the group, says “These plays are part of our Studio initiative which goes from strength to strength and, as a well-established theatre group in Sussex, we are always keen to encourage local writers, actors and anyone with a love of live theatre.
“Roger’s play, about an historical character, Thomas Paine – no relation – spotlights a moment in time (1776) when Tom, who lived in Lewes for six years, first arrives in America and is taken on by a local printer and bookseller to edit a new newspaper in Philadelphia.
“The chance meeting of these two men, although neither knew it at the time, was destined to lead directly to the foundation of the United States of America and, arguably, change the world forever”.
All the characters in the play are contemporaries of Thomas Paine.
Besides touching on events which led to American Independence, there are references to the abolition of the slave trade, the importance of civil liberties and freedom of speech.
The hand-written word at that time had as much influence as today’s world wide web or other different methods of instant communication. Paine had the gift of articulating the feelings and aspirations of his adopted countrymen.
President Obama quoted words written by Thomas Paine at his inaugural address in 2009. This play by Roger Paine, who lives in Hellingly, is a small fragment of history about the man from Lewes, sometimes referred to as ‘the citizen of the world’, who changed America.
Performances are at 7.30pm in Kingston village hall. Tickets, £5, and can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org or on the door.