By Clive Cobie

Outdoor theatre has been inherent in human culture since time immemorial, for putting across ideas both cultural and philosophical to the masses. We are now creating a new outdoor theater called The apple tree Community theatre at Billingshurst.

To do this we need your help to raise funds to plant a C shape in semi dwarf apple trees, made of one row planted at the distance of fifteen feet apart the row being fifty meters long, with two extra trees to fill in at each end. We have not yet received formal permission from the Parish Council. We are extremely confident that this will come through in writing during this campaign, but if it is withdrawn, no funds will be transferred to the project delivery manager.

What we’ll deliver:

  • Semi Dwarf fruit trees
  • Tree stakes and ties
  • Supply compost

Why it’s a great idea:

The benefits to the community. To come together with a common purpose, to feel pride in the creative atmosphere. To realise and discuss the potential of the theatre and exchange ideas. To bring an opportunity to the young people in the community to realise the potential and the importance of a platform to express their concerns about the future and to promote awareness of what needs to be addressed and achieved. Positive action like plays / singing/ dance can help alleviate anxiety about the environment. The apple trees will benefit bees and other insects, they will be pleasant to look at, and will produce fruit. The area around can be utilised for the encouragement of biodiversity and thereby making a suitable educational environment. The area can be used for an outside classroom suitable to seat thirty students at social distancing. The area can be used for classes like yoga/ singing/ art etc. It could be used as a social hub for talking about local issues.

Steps to get it done:

  • Once the funds are secure the trees/compost/ guards/posts will be purchased.
  • The secondary/ primary school students will be approached to help with the planting.
  • The students will be encouraged to work on plays .
  • Advice on expansion of the area to encourage more environmental awareness, biodiversity etc
  • To promote the area as a possible hub for the community to integrate
  • This is the first apple tree theatre, the school woodland theatre project’s aim is to promote the idea far and wide.
  • Connecting neighbouring villages/ towns communities through art and drama


The chosen area at station road gardens is a disused section which lends itself to the creative aspirations of the students to use the area to promote their concerns about the climate and other issues.

In today’s world it is the perfect way to get the most important message across, a message of reconnection , a connection not only for communities, but as individuals within their community and importantly a nurturing of the respect for the natural world.

I don’t need to explain about the issues that face the human family which in turn effects the very stability of all nature, as I’m sure you are all aware in various degrees, it is one of our least intelligent traits, to procrastinate ! 

On the whole I’m sure that the world issues are far to overwhelming for any single mind to comprehend, and that is why we must come together with a unified understanding of purpose. Procrastinating is a deferral of action, an invisible thing and as we know from Covid, things that can’t be seen can cause untold problems!

The school woodland theatre project, is an idea that aims to promote and encourage young people to help initiate change through art and drama in outdoor theatre . With the community to support them with encouraging views and ideas, to not expect to much and nurture them as they learn and grow .

The worries and anxiety felt about the world issues will be like a natural fertiliser inspiring actions that will feed the seeds of hope that we all have.

The apple tree theatre in Billingshurst is the first community funded theatre,it is the vision of the school woodland theatre project to see theatre’s in every parish.

We are working through spacehive. 

If every one of us carries a pebble and sets it down with the same intent we can build a mountain, and from the top we will see a brighter future.

If you would be inspired to donate one pound toward this vision you can help build that mountain.

To support this project please visit: