Photo: Charlie Price


Award-winning production company Deadman will stage the first in a set of performances telling the story of the most infamous crime in modern Island legend – The Freshwater Five.

10 years on from the original convictions, ‘The Freshwater Five’ recounts the tale of 5 men caught up in one of the biggest drug busts in Isle of Wight history. Beginning on the eve of the 2021 appeal, Isle of Wight-born playwright Liam Patrick Harrison’s stageplay is a detailed and rich theatrical investigation into the men’s tragic downfall.

Through spectacular storytelling, verbatim accounts and inventive stagecraft the Island-based cast explores historic precedent, maritime mythology, the British justice system and stories sunken/unspoken within coastal communities.

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The Freshwater Five is a regional research and development project funded by Arts Council England & The Mike Howley Trust and supported by The Quay Arts Centre & The Ventnor Exchange. With the help of Ventnor Exchange’s inspiring Brave Island initiative, Deadman have launched open casting and engaged with some of the best talent in the region.

Future plans for the project include a southern tour to neighbouring coastal communities.

Director Samuel Bossman says:

“Whilst working as a bike courier I learnt to love listening to long podcasts. The day I stumbled across The Guardian’s 5-part podcast regarding this case nicknamed ‘The Freshwater 5’ I was just happy to fill another 5 hours. When I realised that it was set and about an IOW story I was shocked but also weirdly proud that the esteemed Guardian actually even knew that Freshwater existed. It was clear as I was listening to it that this story was incredible on a few different levels, its cultural significance for coastal communities, its place in IOW history as well as the real tragic family story.

“We hope that this iconic IOW story can tell us something about who we are here on the Island and but also the wider, bigger narratives of society”.

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Playwright Liam Patrick Harrison adds:

“We are immensely proud to have the opportunity to tell this quintessential island story, with island talent, in our own backyard. The island is awash with important, immersive, engaging, working class narratives to tell, outside the usual banal realms of visiting useless royal relatives. We were captured by the dramatic, tragic tale of the Freshwater Five – an instant modern myth for our time.

“Whether guilty or innocent we believe the men and families of the Freshwater Five should be seen in the context of the time in which they live. A time when British coastal communities are facing far greater economic deprivation than their in-land counterparts. A time where citizens have recently suffered the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since World War II”.

The Freshwater Five will be performed on the following dates:

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• 22nd and 23rd November @ The Quay Arts Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight
Box Office Number: 01983 822490

• 1st and 2nd December @ The Ventnor Exchange, Ventnor, Isle of Wight
Box Office Number: 01983 716767

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1 month ago

Will it include the drugs being moved around the UK in sealed ended scaffold poles? Don’t want to give others ideas, so lets hope not.


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