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Residents at a Broadstone care home were happy to stay in and see actress Abigail Cruttenden, best known as Anna in the sitcom Not Going Out, read a play via the Zoom video calling service. 

The residents at Burwood Nursing Home in Dunyeats Road saw Abigail, who also played Stephen Hawking’s mother in the feature film The Theory of Everything, read Quicksand, a ten-minute play about a troubled 12-year-old girl who walks out of school and meets an old lady and her dog and discovers her life might not be so difficult after all. 

Playwright Chloe Moss adapted her work so that the story was set in Poole. 

It was brilliant to be able to do a play reading in these strange times and it had a surprisingly live feel, as I could hear the audience responding to the play in the moment,” said Abigail, who has also appeared in Benidorm, Citizen Khan, Sharpe and the film adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel Charlotte Gray. “I was so happy to be asked to be involved in such an exciting project.” 

The home connected with the Come To Where I Am caller service from celebrated new writing theatre company Paines Plough though the creative engagement team at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts. 

“It was a fantastic reading of a really thought-provoking piece,” said Chris Tapner, Home Coordinator at Burwood. “After the call our gathering evolved into a post-show discussion and a lot of themes and thoughts were expressed. Everyone agreed that Abigail’s reading was very entertaining and expressive. They particularly enjoyed her crisp diction.” 

The Come To Where I Am caller service is a spin-off series of Paines Plough’s existing App-based audio play library in response to the coronavirus pandemic and has seen a number of actors including David Bradley, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Lisa Hammond read newly commissioned works to isolated audiences with no access to digital and on-demand culture.  

The company builds local ties on its national tours including an annual collaboration with Lighthouse in the Roundabout festival of new writing. 

Published 23 June 2020