BRIGHTON-BORN actress Amanda Redman MBE has given her backing to open air theatre in the city.

BOAT, Brighton’s Open Air Theatre, is a charity based at Dyke Road Park, Hove, with a capacity of 425 seats.

It runs annually from May to September.

The building of an open air theatre in Brighton was the dream of local playwright Adrian Bunting, who passed away in 2013 and left his life’s savings to help that dream be realised.

This became the case just two years later when BOAT opened on the site of a disused bowling green.

The location is undoubtedly significant to Amanda but Adrian’s death prompted her to become a patron.

She said: “My stepfather used to bowl right here where the theatre is and my mother used to live in Dyke Road.

“When I was told about the history of this place I was incredibly moved.

“Whenever there is a venture where people are honestly trying to put something back into the community, you have to help however you can.”

Amanda is confident that the open air setting will help introduce a new crowd to the theatre in Brighton.

She said: “People don’t feel so self-conscious out here. There’s a full bar, you can bring your own picnic and your own wine. It’s fantastic.”

In addition to lending her time and her name to the cause, Amanda will be directing a show later in the year.

She said: “I work with the Artist’s Theatre School in Ealing, and I will bring my students here.

“Community theatre is of paramount importance. There is an inclusivity to it which brings us together.”

BOAT has no artistic director, meaning that the team can put on any show that is brought to them and of appropriate quality.

The season’s programme is not limited to theatrical productions either and there will be a variety of comedy, dance, music, cabaret, family shows.

With only one member of staff and more than 70 volunteers, Adrian Bunting’s dream has brought many people together.

As the word continues to spread about this scenic alternative to traditional theatre, BOAT promises a bright future.