Mikron Theatre Raises Over £700 for Selsey Lifeboats

11 11th July 2017

Mikron Theatre Mikron Theatre
Mikron Theatre Mikron Theatre

On Tuesday 11th July 2017 more than 100 people braved the evening’s wet and blustery conditions to attend a performance by the Mikron Theatre Company of their new play 'In at the Deep End' at Selsey Lifeboat Station.

The show was specially written to tell the story of the RNLI and for it to be performed inside the new Boathouse added a real sense of poignancy and relevance to the experience, for audience and performers alike.

The action takes place in the fictional RNLI station of Skipwick somewhere on the UK coast, where a demanding Coxswain (Darren) is struggling to keep the station going in the face of a lack of volunteer crew members and a fundraiser (Hazel) with ideas that rarely bring in enough money to keep the station afloat (A History of the RNLI in 900 pages, anyone?).

Darren and Hazel are joined in the fight for the future of the station by an over-eager young volunteer (Shannon), and Darren’s son Billy – a 'conscripted' crew member, bound to the RNLI by a sense of duty to a father for whom he never appears to be good enough at anything.

Billy confesses to Shannon that he believes he deserves his father's poor opinion for having to be rescued by him from a notoriously dangerous spot in the station's area, but Shannon stirs things up by encouraging Billy out of this negative attitude to his life, and more importantly, to his role with the RNLI. She also questions the fervour with which Darren treats anyone and anything connected to the station.

The action comes to a head when the crew responds to a shout to look for a missing swimmer in poor and increasingly worsening weather conditions. Darren, Billy, and Shannon carry out a successful search and rescue and are on their way back to the station with the casualty when a freak wave washes Darren overboard.

In true 'happy ever after' style, Darren is rescued by his son and under pressure from Hazel and Shannon the two become reconciled and acknowledge their true feelings for each other.

A back story about the loss of Darren's best friend, himself a lifeboat volunteer, while on a shout at the place Billy had been rescued from explains Darren's attitude to his son as well as his approach to running the station and how he treated new volunteers - he blamed himself for his friend's death and consequently expected too much from Billy and anyone else who joined the crew.

The story of the Skipwick station was interspersed with vignettes of music, drama, and comedy, accompanied by appropriate costume changes, describing how the RNLI began, telling the stories of Lionel Lukin, who in 1785 designed and patented the first unsinkable boat which subsequently became the model for the first purpose-built lifeboat and Sir William Hillary, whose vision for a service dedicated to saving lives at sea culminated in the foundation of the RNLI in 1824.

There was also a delightful sketch telling the history of the life-jacket and how they have changed in the years since Captain Ward invented the cork version in 1854.

How the equipment used by the RNLI has transitioned from horse-drawn boats, through sail power then steam, petrol, and diesel, alongside a 'countdown' of the different classes of lifeboat over the years was told in a lively and entertaining way.

The multi-talented cast treated the audience to a wonderful evening of entertainment showing off an extensive range of musical skills, playing a variety of instruments from the usual guitar, through the less frequently seen and heard ukulele, accordion, finger bells and beat box to enhance the atmosphere and set suitable soundscapes for the storytelling, including stormy weather, sailor's hornpipes etc.

Mikron were rewarded for their efforts with a very well deserved standing ovation and it is to be hoped that when they plan their 2018 season we will be among the locations fortunate enough to be treated to another performance from them.

If you want to know more about Mikron click here.

For more information on the history of the RNLI and what the organisation does please click here.