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The End of the Journey

Writer: Gillian Plowman

Choreographer/Producer: Chris Butler


The End of the Journey is part of a long term investigation into re-invigorating ‘unloved and forgotten spaces’ through artistic projects. The form of urban regeneration has brought new life to many old or under-used buildings. Currently used as as a builders’ yard, the listed front of the Pavilion Theatre - later cinema - was once a famous landmark on the South Coast Touring circuit that went from Portsmouth to Eastbourne. Through the generosity of the owner of the building, and under the banner of the Charity ‘Arts Dream Selsey’ we were able to demonstrate what could be done for this Jewel in the Crown of Selsey town, as part of World War One commemorations August 2014



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Models of The End of the Journey

Scenes from The End of the Journey

Please click image  to enlarge.

Below are some selected comments from audiences: -


I loved your play. It was a moving and unique experience. I have never been to a promenade play. Everything about it was spot on.

The script was perfect, all the characters were believable, their dialogue really conveyed the very different life experiences they all had before they were thrown together in war. The women becoming ‘men’ for the duration, and doing the dual shift of work and home life. The officers, with no concept of the lives the regular soldiers would have lived. The soldiers, afraid but determined and a long way from the security of their home life and the lives they had thought they would be living, following their fathers in the fields or down the pit. Those that came back, were forever changed. All of that was conveyed as the play unfolded and the script told the story of life in the trenches.

I thought I knew a little about WW1, but I didn’t know about the rats, the horse manure, the dead bodies, somehow I thought all those things were taken care of and they only(!) had masses of mud to deal with. And I thought there was some sort of big master plan for combat operations, but it was all chaotic and decisions were being made by officers who were either young and inexperienced, or older and from a different kind of warfare altogether.

The performances - what a cast. It was wonderful to see so many young faces, and they performed so well, everyone did. Truly professional performances from them all.

The set - weren’t the trenches deep. I suppose they had to be, I feel I got a sense of what it myst have been like to spend hours in them, with the constant sound of gunfire. It was so imaginative, for the audience to be promenaded. From the opening scene I felt as if we were following the journey of the characters as they moved about us and we moved about them. The set was a masterpiece of design and execution. From the staggering piles of sandbags, to the rat that landed in my lap. I’d like to have looked at Sleepy Hollow, but I was the last one through so hurried up.

It was such a clever idea to end with the women dancing alone. It made sense of the Roaring 20s, so many men gone. I realised why a) there was a fashion for some women to dress like men b) why that time saw a social revolutions as they tried to forget the past, who would want to remember what they or their families had gone through and c) the frustration of women who had stepped into fill jobs only to be sent back to the kitchen when men did return. Of course many women forged a way into work, determined to have a career, but many were denied the chance.

Both Gill and I had a few tears as the story unfolded.

What a joy to experience, and to see The Pavilion come alive in such a way. I do hope it paves the way for many more productions at The Pavilion.

Congratulations, I thought it was brilliant, very powerful and moving. Amazing use of space.


Just got back into the dry after tonight’s performance. It was so getting wet for! many thanks and congratulations to all concerned for a great and moving experience.


I really loved The End of the Journey - I thought it was a complete triumph. To begin with, the transformation of the space was wonderful and the attention to detail quite astonishing. I felt that the play really worked and propelled us very quickly into the heart of matters, making it both a compelling experience to watch and also an intimate one with commitment, focus and dignity. There was a simplicity and directness about the play, which couldn’t fail to move - especially when the young men were encouraging each other to write letters. The final dance scene was inspired and actually the most moving part of the whole. I loved watching those girls stand so still and concentrated and then move into a touching waltz when the audience had settled. One of the best things I’ve seen for a long time.


We were most impressed by the structure of the play - cleverly using the different bits of the building and culminating with jolly (although still poignant) musical finale.


A treat, even though it was hugely sad and devastating. I had read a lot on the WW1 and taken grandchildren to the Imperial War Museum, nonetheless your production was the one that brought it home in reality. Your production was so much more authentic than Journey’s End itself. What  pity it cannot come to a London Theatre at some time - albeit I can see that the roving audience was a terrific experience that added a lot of authenticity in different spaces.


A friend of mine - a big, burly, hard drinking tiler - said he was so moved by the show he had to sit down for an hour afterwards to recover from the emotion it brought out in him.


Congratulations on your production of The End of the Journey - I thought was absolutely wonderful - powerful, moving, profound, funny! The installation was genius - I can only begin to imagine just how much hard work you must have had to put in - absolutely brilliant!


Everybody who saw The End of the Journey agreed that it was wonderful. It gave a balanced insight into all aspects of WW1 that will be etched on all our memories. It was riveting throughout, but for me, the emotion and poignancy of that last scene will remain forever. That one-hour production summed up the whole tragedy, which affected that entire generation.


I just wanted to say after all your hard work and creativity that we thought the drama was an absolute triumph and incredibly moving. The space worked wonderfully well and I cannot imagine anything putting Selsey on the map better than your production.


The play was great. I think the actors were brilliant because they were all locals as you said and they transported me back in time. I liked the part about Osbourne and the pipe because it was really moving to think that sometimes they knew they were going to die.


I really liked the staging as it was made out of old garage stuff and it looked as if nothing was brand new. It was clever because I did feel I was really in the trenches. The lighting and sound coming from above topped it off. I was surprised how you fitted everything in the space, it felt like different places when we moved around. I liked walking through Sleepy Hollow, it felt like I was walking through someone’s house kept since the war. I wasn’t really sure about the dance in the kitchen though. I liked it being in Selsey, it made me feel like I was actually there when R. C Sherriff wrote it. I imagine him writing it in his living room with a dim light in front of the sea looking out. I like his Rolls Royce. It took me back in time when he lived in Selsey and there was a photo of it next to his house. Love from Frank (age 12)


Absolutely fantastic production in all aspects. Huge thank you, bravo and congratulations to the whole team for transporting me literally back to 1914 and to really feel what it must have been like. I can honestly say nothing I have read, no film I have ever seen about WW1 has moved me as much as this afternoon did.