If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Building The Spire
WILLIAM Golding’s The Spire, a tale of faith, vision and sheer determination, has its stage première at Salisbury Playhouse tonight.
This soaring story of the men who conceived and built the cathedral spire shows the clash between faith and reason and the impact of one man’s ambition on those around him.
These dark and emotive themes are quite a departure for Hollywood director Roger Spottiswoode, who has adapted Golding’s novel for the Playhouse stage.
He is better known as a director of multi-million dollar movies, with credits including Turner and Hooch, Stop! Or my Mom Will Shoot, The Sixth Day, Air America and the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
Now, at the age of 67, Spottiswoode is working in theatre for the first time, seeing a long-held ambition come to life.
“I read The Spire back in the 60s when I was first starting out and thought it would make a wonderful film,” he said.
“I met with William Golding, who gave me his blessing, but for various reasons it never happened.
“I revisited it many, many times over the years but then these other films came along and it just sat on the shelf until a very good friend of mine said ‘This would work as a play’ and gave me the strong nudge I needed to adapt it for the stage.
“I thought where else could it be performed other than Salisbury? So I sent it to the Playhouse and waited.”
The timing was fortuitous – the script landed on the desk of the Playhouse’s new artistic director Gareth Machin, who was looking for ambitious and exciting new projects for the producing theatre.
He takes up the directing reins for The Spire and says it presents a range of challenges, particularly for designer Tom Rogers.
“It’s always very exciting and involving to present new work,” said Machin. “Obviously we couldn’t physically create the cathedral on stage but theatre audiences are very willing to suspend disbelief.
“The pillars play a crucial part, and the moment when they take out the wedges to lower the spire into position is well worth the price of a ticket in itself.”
Golding, who taught at Bishop Wordsworth’s school, wrote The Spire in 1964, ten years after Lord of the Flies.
The Spire is being performed at Salisbury Playhouse from tonight until Saturday, November 24. Box office: 01722 320333.
- MEMBERS of Stage ’65 Youth Theatre are performing Golding’s Lord of the Flies to run alongside The Spire.
The production has been sponsored by Fletcher and Partners who met some of the young actors and saw the designs for the set.
Golding’s most famous work follows a group of schoolchildren who survive a plane crash to find themselves on a desert island. But the holiday paradise
soon turns into a nightmare.
The Lord of the Flies is in the Salberg Studio from Monday-Saturday, November 19-24. Tickets from the Playhouse box office 01722 320333.
- In response to the buzz created by The Spire’s première, the cathedral
has arranged special tower tours focussing on what happened when
6,500 tonnes of building materials were added its roof.
They will take place on Saturdays 3, 10 and 24, Monday 5, Tuesday 13 and Thursday 22 November.
And on Friday, November 16, in Exploring The Spire, Machin will be in conversion with the current dean June Osborne with readings from Golding’s novel and discussion on whether Dean Jocelin’s vision to build the spire was foolish or inspired.
Pre-booking online at: www.salisburycathedral.org.uk, telephone 01722 555156.