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Theatre in the Fields – or the Dragon Strikes Back!




Following our Carnival performance of the Brent Pelham Dragon. We were invited to perform at the Theatre in the Fields Festival in Furneux Pelham.

This was a brand new Theatre Festival based at Brook Cottage Farm in the fields of Furneux Pelham aiming to bring a full day of theatre in all shapes and sizes!​

The team behind it was The Big Room Theatre Company, comprising of Artistic Director Lee Dillon-Stuart (Actor|Director), Creative Director Hester Tingey (Writer|Actor), Creative Director Tabitha Tingey (Actor|Certified Yoga Instructor) and Chloe Tingey (Musician|Digital Marketing Consultant) who joined forces with Brook Cottage Farm’s Louise & Russell Seddon (Proprietors) and Caroline Noble (Events Organiser) .

It was designed to be a magical day out, chock-a-block full of amazing shows, food, yoga, creative activities, weird and wonderful performances and general festival cheer, deep in the Hertfordshire countryside.

Facilities included :-

BAE’s Barn Theatre: The Main Stage, a beautiful newly-built 80-seat venue. Produced theatre in its fullest form. Plus some Edinburgh Fringe previews and stand-up Comedy.

Black Box Barn: A 50-seat venue in the hay bale barn. A chance to see some new work, cabaret, spoken word, one woman/one man shows, children’s entertainment.

The Yoga Tent: Yoga and mindfulness to get you in your creative flow.

The Colts’ Paddock: Interactive kids’ theatre, acting workshops, storytelling, clowning workshops, improvisation

Some of the events in the programme were:-

Stageys in the Stixxm – A brand new cabaret created for Theatre in the Fields, starring Performers from Broadway and London’s West End!

Angela Barnes – BBC New Comedy Award winner, ANGELA BARNES performed  a work-in-progress of her brand-new hour of jokes!

BUMP! A fast-paced, highly physical new play.

How to Cope with Embarrassment ​Two Pale Ladies, and their new pale mate (Ben Hudson; Splutter Theatre) presented How to Cope with Embarrassment, an irreverent showcase of what makes us tick, blush, cringe and silently scream.

Did it Hurt?​  Two strangers share a room. Once inside, they cannot leave.

Abigail Carter-SimpsonStand up comedienne, bringing along her singing and mediocre ukulele playing for moral support!

Games and After Liverpool​  Two 30 minute absurd, comic plays, which run back to back.

The Art of Skipping ​ Brand new mysterious and mystical musical.

DICK!  ​Richard ‘Dick’ Head – world renowned comedian, bingo-caller extraordinaire and National Geographic’s Moustache of the Year!

The Turn of the Screw A night of spine-chilling horror in Henry James’ classic ghost story.

Burning Tails  Burning Tails is a one-man tragicomedy piece following a series of heart breaking events within a fox’s romantic life

Three Menopausal Maids – Three Menopausal Maids are hot and guaranteed to tickle your Tena Ladies and Starring our own Linda Shelverton.

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It was good to see some of Water Lane’s members involved as directors and actors.

Well done Cat Quigley, Becky Faulkner, Linda Shelverton, Amanda Green, Jacqui Kinnison, Sam Soames, Nicki Maguire, Ben Maclean, Sally Fenton, John and Pam Johnson-Cook, Les and Carys Sullivan and the children Imogen, Izzy and Mags.

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We performed the Brent Pelham Dragon twice at 1.00pm and 3.00pm in the outdoor Haybale arena in lovely sunshine but battling a very blustery wind which was playing havoc with the various tents and gazebos. We received some kind and enthusiastic comments afterwards and met up with a gentleman who was writing a book about Piers Shonks, our hero, and who was keen to stay in touch.

In all the day turned out to be  a great success and the varied and high quality programme was a tribute to the organisers and performers .Hopefully this stimulating Festival will become an annual event. Improvements in advertising and signage to the venue should increase visitor numbers and I hope that Water Lane will be able to perform at the Festival again.

John Johnson-Cook , Director: The Brent Pelham Dragon

The thoughts of our new Chairman – Mr Granville Rush

The thoughts of Chairman Moi

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I always thought of myself as someone who quietly gets things done in the background, which I started doing with Water Lane Theatre Company thirty-something years ago when a certain dental practitioner roped me in to helping out backstage with the set and promotional artwork. All of a sudden, I found myself centre stage under the spotlight as the Wizard of Oz. I’m still not quite sure how that happened, and I haven’t been able to get off the stage since! I find myself in a similar situation now. There I was, minding my own business, when the “un-namely” nominated me to become Chairman at the AGM. So here I am again, centre stage, and a bit bemused as to how it happened.

All joking aside, I’m honoured to be fulfilling this post, and to have been asked. Water Lane is so much more than a local am-dram group. Fast  approaching 70 years since the group was founded, Water Lane is a staple in the community. Third generation members are on the scene, and lifelong friendships have been made. There are no prima donnas here. Members get the opportunity to challenge and express themselves, try something new and have a lot of laughs along the way. We aren’t one trick ponies either; from punk Shakespeare and period dramas, to comedy nights, 70’s nostalgia and murder mysteries. There really is something for everyone.

The outgoing Chairman (the previously mentioned dentist, now x) achieved great things in the last three years, so I’ve got a big cavity to fill. However, In the same way when directing, the secret of a successful show is to have a strong cast. Where the chair is concerned it is a strong committee. Fortunately for “Moi” there could not be a better dedicated committee in place to help with an exciting line up of productions in the coming months. That’s what I’m looking forward to most, heading up the team and putting on high-quality, diverse productions. Summer picnic plays, studio productions and big show stoppers, not to mention street theatre, drama festivals and our regular ‘One Act, One Night’ performances. As always, we will have plenty of socials, playreadings and quizzes, and everyone will have a chance to muck in.

Of all the roles I’ve been roped into over the years, I’m really proud to be cast as the latest in a long line of distinguished Water Lane Chairmen, and I hope that I am worthy of the job. A daunting one, but as Dorothy said “All you have to do, Toto, is click your heels together and you are on your way.”

Granville Rush – Chairman – Water Lane Theatre Company


John Wetherall

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It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that John Wetherall passed away last week.
He had been seriously ill for quite some time, and for him a release, but doesn’t make the loss any easier

John was a founder member of Water Lane and played the lead in many of the early productions

His stage presence was second to none, and he was equally happy in roles involving many different moods and characterisations
He moved to The Hadham Players but we still kept in close contact, and John was guest speaker at out 60th Anniversary Dinner at Great Hadham Golf Club
His last role was the photographer in When We Are Married for The Hertford Players, to which he brought comedy and pathos. Also in the cast was Andy Roberts as one of the hapless husbands and whom we welcomed for his enthusiasm and commitment.
John will long be remembered for his Dames. The Little Hadham Pantomimes were brought alive by his characterisation, timing and wit.
John also had a series of monologue cameos, the most famous one being his Uncle Charlie with a string of hilarious one liners and jokey tales. Forever in memory the picture of Uncle Charlie riding on his bicycle, down hill, with a grandfather clock strapped to his back taking it to be repaired. He fell off and a bystander was heard to remark (in Johns lovely “farmer Giles” accent) “why don’t ‘e wear a wrist watch like any other sensible bloke?” There is another one about a squirrel but maybe not for now!!

There is so much more to John’s life, but as Water Lane, we wanted to pay tribute to our common love, the theatre, the “smell of the grease paint, the roar of the crowd!!!
God bless John. Sock it to them on the great big stage in the sky

Funeral arrangements: Tuesday August 28th at 12 noon,
Haileybury College Chapel, Hertford Heath.
No black by request
No flowers but donations to Action For Pulmonary Fibrosis
Or Heart Foundation if you so wish.

Blog by Water Lane Theatre Company President  – Pat Bastin