Show Calendar


The British Association for American Studies and the Thomas Paine Society of Lewes Presents To Begin the World Over.

In this remarkable one-man show, Los Angeles-based actor Ian Ruskin brings to life the story of one of the most visionary and misunderstood figures from American history.

No other Founding Father was anywhere close to Thomas Paine in his vision of democracy. His book Common Sense was a sensation in the America of the 1770s in which just about everybody read it or had it read to them. His writings were the spark that ignited the American Revolution, challenged organized religion and championed man’s ability to reason.

Born in Norfolk and based for years in Lewes, he went from hero on the streets of Philadelphia to prisoner in Paris awaiting the guillotine. He was much loved, and much hated, in America, where six people attended his funeral. He was one of history’s greatest propagandists and worst politicians, a dangerous and very nearly deadly combination. The eloquence and passion of Thomas Paine are on full view in Ian Ruskin’s vivid portrayal of this fiery patriot and Founding Father. Writer-actor Ruskin captures Paine’s brilliance, contradictions and contrariness in his one-man play about the radical enlightenment figure that helped forge America’s core.

Written by: Ian Ruskin

Voice of Prologue and Epilogue: Elliott Gould

Thomas Paine: Ian Ruskin

Directed by:Shanga Parker

Costume Design by: Sarah Nash Gates

Wig by: Joyce Degenfelder

Music Composed and Performed by: Joe Romano, Bernard Kerboeuf, Connor Vance, Matt Scott, Steve Buckley and Graham Moore.

General Information


If you have access requirements that you would like to discuss with us please contact the box office on 01273 678 822 or email For more information abut accessibility at the venue see our Access page here.

Box Office Opening Times

The box office (phone line and drop-in service) is open from 10am to 4pm, Mondays to Fridays. The box office is also open one hour before the advertised show start time.

Dates & Times

  • Thursday 25 April, 2019
    5:00pm – 6:30pm


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Campus Community
University of Sussex School of English presents: To Begin the Word Again: The Life of Tom Paine
Thursday 25 April

University of Sussex School of English presents: To Begin the Word Again: The Life of Tom Paine Tickets

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