Dear fellow Parishioners
St Mary’s community hall in Sabden was recently transformed into a theatre for a production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” by Sabden’s panto group, the New Village Folk. So now we have a facility which is suitable for all kinds of amateur dramatics, shows or concerts.
The group, which was founded in 2006, used to be based at St Nicholas’s Church Hall but recent renovations made it impractical to stage productions and the panto group had to move out.
Fortunately St Mary’s gave the New Village Folk a warm welcome and as many of the group are connected with the church and every member except one lives in Sabden, it was good to find a new home in the village and be able to carry on performing.
But we did have a job on our hands. St Mary’s stage is quite small and only had access at one side. There was no stage lighting or sound facilities, and no access to the toilets from the top room which had to serve as a backstage dressing room.
Fr John gave us permission to install new wiring and fit the hall with stage lights, all round sound and speakers and stage microphones (as long as we paid for it!).
The next challenge was to board out the stage and make a passage along the back to allow access at both sides. We finished off by having new curtains made to carefully match the hall’s decor. The Village Folk spent around £1,000 on these and the result is a hall fit to stage any type of amateur dramatics or concerts.
We didn’t manage to build any backstage toilet facilities, but got around the problem by hiring mobile loos for the cast for the duration of the show! We also paid £500 in total to hire the hall for rehearsals and four performances. In addition the group is making a £1,000 donation to St Mary’s towards the ongoing upkeep of the community hall. And Fr Frankie is hoping that no-one claims the £50 lucky programme prize as we will donate it to his favourite charity, Mary’s Meals.
The four performances of “Jack and the Beanstalk” were a sell out and received lots of wonderful comments and reviews from audiences, which we were pleased to see included many of our friends from SS Michael and John’s.
The Village Folk is happy to be connected with St Mary’s and already planning our next panto early next year.