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Director Sean Turner on The Play That Goes Wrong at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells


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When the audience settles down to watch The Play That Goes Wrong next in Kent, they know everything won't be alright on the night.

But for audiences at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells, where the show opens on Tuesday, October 19, they have the extra reassurance that the director of the worldwide hit, where things are meant to go wrong, is just down the road.

The Play That goes Wrong will be in Tunbridge Wells
The Play That goes Wrong will be in Tunbridge Wells

Mischief’s multi award-winning comedy featuring the accident-prone Cornley Drama Society trying to put on a 1920s murder mystery, is directed by Sean Turner, who also is now artistic director of the nearby Trinity Theatre.

Sean, who joined the Church Road theatre earlier this year, said ensuring things go 'wrong' correctly can actually mean making sure things are perfect.

"Sure, it’s a real logistical jigsaw puzzle to make everything look chaotic whilst making sure it’s really safe and the audience can still follow along. There are a few moments in the show that require absolute precision and that can sometimes take up quite a bit of rehearsals."

So it is fortuitous that the show is making its debut in the town where he is also now based.

"I don’t have anything to do with booking the tours though I imagine it was probably booked at around the same time that I heard that I had landed the job at Trinity. It’s a lovely coincidence though - looking forward to a week of having all my work in one place!"

Sean Turner, artistic director of Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, and associate director of The Play That Goes Wrong
Sean Turner, artistic director of Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, and associate director of The Play That Goes Wrong
The Play That Goes Wrong Picture: Robert Day
The Play That Goes Wrong Picture: Robert Day

So what does he think is the secret to the show's phenomenal success around the world?

"It’s a bit bonkers how much success it has had but I can see why it works. I’ve directed it on four different continents now it does the same thing to audiences everywhere - reduces them to gleeful childlike tears of laughter.

"I think it is just so playful, audiences can’t see to resist the fun."

He describes juggling his role at the Trinity with the show as being 'nice and busy'.

"We’re in preparation for our big Christmas production; The Prince and the Pauper. It’s going to be an absolute hoot and not wholly dissimilar to the Play That Goes Wrong. Running Trinity is keeping me nice and busy but I still find time to make sure everything is going well with the Play That Goes Wrong on tour and in the West End."

Sean combines being artistic director of Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, with being associate director of The Play That Goes Wrong
Sean combines being artistic director of Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, with being associate director of The Play That Goes Wrong

And he says of his future plans at the Trinity: "It strikes me that a town like Tunbridge Wells is crying out for a really good theatre that produces plays that rival the ones a short train ride away in London. We’ll soon be announcing our plans for the future so watch this space. Trinity is a really special place and whilst we might be small in stature, we are full of big ambition."

The show is recommended for ages eight and up. To book for its run from Tuesday, October 19 until Sunday, October 24 at the Assembly Hall Theatre click here.

For more Stage news across Kent click here.

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