|Henry (Nick Wray) and George (Charles Johnson)|
It's Sunday afternoon, it's pouring, and I'm exhausted. But I'm elated too, because we've just put on three shows of our community play. We created a story about a village like ours during the First World War, and it's been a truly amazing experience.
we pulled it off - we told a familiar story that held our audiences' attention from the first chords to the last song
we made our audiences laugh and weep
and then they rushed to tell us what a pleasure it had been
it was a truly collective endeavour - almost sixty of us came together to create our play
|The Morris dancers (Colleen Thirkell, Molly Byford, Jan Batchelor and Sue Harrison)|
and we sold out three shows
and, and, and ...
I'm a bit overwhelmed by what we achieved, but fundamentally, what I'm going to remember for a long time is that this may have been just a play, but it was a play about something really serious, and everyone in the room - audience and players - knew it.
|Len (Oliver Hulme), Lily (Melanie Byford), Isabella (Sarah Saxty), Frank (Steven James), Henry, Rose (Annabel Hunt), Robert (Eric Parker), John (Charlie Crisp) and Hester (Ana Garcia)|
What caught me unawares were the people who came up to me, separately, after the shows. One was a mother of soldiers who has set up a support group for veterans. Another was a retired Navy officer. The third, a serving Major in the Army. They each thanked us for showing what it's like to fight, and to return home with that experience inside you.
And then there were the villagers who felt that this story was part of them too, because the people in it were people just like us. I'm so glad we got it right.
(All photos are by Rowan Purkis.)