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Ploughing The Salt Sea


  • After sell out shows at the Stables Theatre last year and a coastal tour, Bev is bringing the show back to its Hastings roots with some exciting new material as the show continues to evolve through further research and development.

Ploughing The Salt Sea is a solo autobiographical music theatre show, drawing on Bev Lee Harling’s recently discovered rich heritage of centuries old, fishing family roots in Hastings. The narrative, drawn from the suds of the Old Town Wash House, told through the eyes of the overlooked women, seeks to rewrite their stories back into our current consciousness through original and traditional folk song.

Bev shares precious memories, real and imagined which connect through the universal themes of secrecy, loss and finding your own voice.

She tells of a great uncle lost at sea; a dastardly grandfather running amok with the law; the decline in her own mother’s health; a great great grandmother, proprietor of several net huts down on Rock-a-Nore and knitter of their family gansey – a fishermen’s jumper, featuring their unique family motif. This has been beautifully recreated for a new scene in the show by local knitter Helen Jones.

Written and performed by Bev Lee Harling.

Directed by Dr. Mo Cohen

Sound Design: Frank Moon

Set, Video & Costume Design: Simon Daw

Lighting Design: Jonathan Richardson

Choreography: Arthur Pita

Creative Producer: Mae Dewsbery

Running time: 80 minutes, no interval

Supported by the Arts Council, Stables Theatre, and the Hastings Storytelling Festival.

“Harling is a multi-talented singer songwriter and gifted musician and in her debut as an actor.. She instantly has us in the palm of her hand” Theatre Nation

“A vivid alive portrait of a small town told through beautifully realised character studies”

About Bev:

Declared ‘simply brilliant’ by BBC 6 DJ Gilles Peterson, Bev is a multi-genre vocalist, violinist and composer working across performance, theatre, dance, film and opera bringing classical, folk, jazz and found sounds to her projects and collaborations. Bev’s debut album Barefoot in Your Kitchen, released on Wah Wah 45s, was named ‘Album of the Week’ on BBC radio 6 and enjoyed widespread global radio play, as has her latest album ‘Little Anchor’, a musical travelogue exploring motherhood, family and loss.Previous artist/producer collaborations include Talvin Singh, Netsky, Katharine Blake, Kavus Torabi, Sophie Barker, The Destroyers and Cleveland Watkiss. Bev has been featured on many soundtracks for dance-theatre and ballet productions at venues such as the Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Northern Ballet, and Live from Television Centre BBC 4. She performed live with ballet stars Edward Watson and Wendy Whelan in their show Other Stories, at the Royal Opera House and City Centre New York.Collaborating with composer Frank Moon and choreographer Arthur Pita, their Sadler’s Wells production of Ten Sorry Tales received critical acclaim in Autumn 2022.She has composed several short film scores including the Channel 4 production ‘Thinspiration’, highlighting eating disorders in young women. Bev has toured widely in the USA and Europe with classical chart topping act Mediaeval Baebes. Most recently she was vocal soloist for Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater in Marbella, Spain and for ‘Bloom Britannia’ composed by Orlando Gough for the Barefoot Opera company in 2021.

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