Wessex Actors Company, Dorset’s Newest Open Air Theatre 2016

Press Release – Wessex Actors Company (WAC) ‘For Sale’

After an extremely exciting, adventurous and successful six years, Jo and Eve Puttick, the owners of Wessex Actors Company, have decided to retire and let their beloved WAC pass to someone new.

Starting in 2011 with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, directed by Jo, WAC produced the play at several Dorset outdoor venues to great acclaim.

Jo’s starting intention had been to just produce this one play, but the demand for us to return to the venues we performed at was too loud to ignore and so the annual WAC tour was born. WAC has always been a professional company from the start, proud to be able to give an earning opportunity to the many high quality actors we have in Dorset. We also started with the premise that we wanted to produce classic play performances of a very high standard, with the freedom to chose our plays and where we performed.

The second year Jo again both Produced and Directed – this time ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’, again to critical acclaim, but the Summer of 2012 being one of the wettest for years drastically affected the audience numbers attending our outdoor performances.

The decision was quickly made that for subsequent years we would make a move to theatres in addition to our outdoor performances. We were still keen to perform in the open air to please our many supporters the enjoyed bringing a picnic and perhaps a bottle of wine, or two, but wished those not prepared to risk the weather the chance to see us under cover.

The following years productions were ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ in 2013, ‘Private Lives’ in 2014, ‘Canterbury Tales’ in 2015, and ‘Hay Fever’ this Summer of 2016. WAC were now giving thirteen professional performances at eleven venues (matinees at two theatres) and attracting rave revues and growing audiences, as we had now earned a good reputation for putting on top quality drama.

Jo had lightened his load somewhat by inviting guest Directors – Linsey O’Neil in ’13, Lyn Richell in ‘14 and Virginia Harrington this year – but he’s always been the Producer (and Roadie!), with Eve taking on Properties and the Management of Front of House and Finances.

Several others have helped hugely over the years with WAC’s Website, Costumes, Publicity, Ticket Sales Production Management, and Sounds – principally Mike Finding, Linsey O’Neil, Scott Sullivan, Lyn Richell and Sean Beaumont, and all these hard working and fabulous people are hugely thanked for their part in WAC’s success.

However, as the Production side of running a drama company takes a lot of effort and keeps one busy over the whole year, Jo and Eve have made the hard decision to call it a day and take more holidays!

WAC has amassed all the equipment needed for putting on a theatrical tour of any length, with all the necessary knowledge gained over the years, together with an extensive database of our audience, and we would be very happy to pass this all on to a new owner and therefore invite anyone who’d like to purchase a thriving theatrical company to contact us at either info@wessex-actors-company.co.uk, or 01929-459368.

Lastly we’d like to thank all our lovely audiences, supporters, critics, theatres and venues, and our actors (especially them!) who have been with us on the road.

Jo and Eve Puttick

HI Jo,

Thanks for sending me your news, a sad decision but I guess it is the right one for you. You and Eve have done such a great job in bringing classic works to Dorset and I really hope that someone else takes up the challenge. We will miss you.

With very best wishes and fond memories of past glories,

Marion
Theatre Critic – Dorset Echo