New stage play from local author

The Trials of Colonel Barker, a new full-length stage play by Rose Collis, funded by Arts Council England and based on her book Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment, makes its world premiere with a one-off rehearsed reading as part of the second (Brighton and) Hove Grown Festival.

The play explores some of the most dramatic events in the extraordinary and complex life of Valerie Arkell-Smith aka ‘Colonel Sir Victor Barker DSO’, who veered from tragedy to farce, from fame to obscurity, but always strove to remain ‘a perfect gentleman’.

Rose Collis

Colonel Barker’s story is one of identity: gender identity, hidden identities, class identities and the conflict between the public and the private identity.

The rehearsed reading will be followed by a brief Q&A session with writer and cast, and copies of Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment will be on sale (cash only).

The play is written and produced by Rose Collis, performed by Rose Collis, Keith Drinkel, Philippa Hammond and Guy Wah and directed by Thomas Everchild.

Virago published Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment in 2001, to critical acclaim:

Excellent… treads a careful line between sensation and sentiment….Daily Telegraph

A fascinating tale…Collis has researched this book thoroughly, and she writes with a lively sense of humour….Times Literary Supplement

Written with style and feeling….Financial Times


Event: The Trials of Colonel Barker by Rose Collis – a one-off rehearsed reading

Where: The Purple Playhouse, 36 Montefiore Rd, Hove BN3 6EP

When: Sunday March 26

Time: 8pm

Cost: Tickets £8/£6,

To book online, click here:

For more information about Rose Collis, click here:

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