Writer and performer Rose Collis has been awarded research and development funding from Grants for the Arts, supported by Arts Council England, to create a two-act stage play based on her book Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment.
The play will be about the extraordinary life of Valerie Arkell-Smith aka ‘Colonel Victor Barker’.
Virago published Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment in 2001 to enormous critical acclaim:
‘Excellent… treads a careful line between sensation and sentiment.’… Daily Telegraph
‘Rose Collis has delved meticulously…and produced a remarkably gripping and, at times, quite hilarious story.’ Val Hennessy, Daily Mail, ‘Critic’s Choice’
The funding coincides with the start of a two-week residency at the Gladstone Library awarded to Rose after she was shortlisted for its prestigious Writer-in-Residence 2016 programme.
The Trials of Colonel Barker will be developed to rehearsed reading stage, in time for the second (Brighton And) Hove Grown Festival of new writing which takes place March 24 to April 2 2017. Rose’s current one-woman play, Wanting the Moon, was performed during the inaugural Hove Grown Festival in 2016.
Prior to the rehearsed readings, Rose will present two tie-in public engagement events: a free ‘Lunchtime Lecture’ at Worthing Library on February 28 and a talk at Jubilee Library, Brighton (date tbc). All events will have Q&A sessions, and copies of Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment will be on sale.
Participating artists for The Trials of Colonel Barker will include Keith Drinkel, Philippa Hammond and Guy Wah.
Rose said, “I am enormously grateful to Arts Council England for supporting another of my projects, and also to the Gladstone Library for the two-week residency which will be spring-boarding this exciting new project. Writing this play will provide an exciting and vital challenge in my development as a stage writer, breaking new ground to create my first two-act play, and my first for a cast of more than two performers.”