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Memories of Bonchurch Village Festival, June 1993

Updated: Jul 16, 2022


Villagers are making their way to the church hall. Excitement is in the air.

It's the opening night of a new play about Charles Dickens by Bonchurch playwright John Goodwin.

As they enter the hall the audience hardly recognise the building which has been converted into an in the round theatre with its own raised seating and spot lights.

‘Well I never.’

‘Amazing transformation’

‘Lucky to get a ticket.’

‘Last one went weeks ago’


House lights fade out. Spot lights shine through the gloom. A prostrate body lies on the floor.

Sombre music fills the air. The play has begun with the funeral of Dickens. Poor and rich alike

bow their heads. Lights suddenly blaze bright. What follows are key episodes in the life of Dickens seen through the lens of the books he wrote.


A County Press reporter has this to say having been in the audience


‘anyone who watched the two hour play could not fail to have been impressed by the quality of the writing, acting and direction and by the end of the play the whole audience was shouting for more’

‘it was riveting from start to finish and one of the best productions I have seen’


The festival week continued with Morris Men Dancers in the courtyard of The Bonchurch Inn, a classical music concert in the Parish Church featuring Bonchurch musicians Frances Mason and James Halsey and a Barn Dance at Westfield Mansion. The results of a poetry competition concluded the week judged by John Edwards, Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Richard and John at The Pond Stores published a book of all entered poems and organised a Friend of the Festival scheme to support the finance required for the festival. The week also celebrated St Boniface Day and villager Jeanne Snudden organised a magnificent display of flowers in thanksgiving in the Parish Church.



Were you there ? As Linda and John Goodwin look back over the 20 years that have elapsed since the festival sounds have disappeared they wonder at how much happened in the village in a single week.






John also very kindly passed on a County Press report by Rachael Rosewell. The photograph was taken outside the Old School House building and the editorial was published 11th June 1993.


Notes


I recently discovered that twenty-nine years ago there was a week long Bonchurch Festival held at the beginning of June 1993! Digging a little deeper I tracked down John Goodwin who in those days chaired the Bonchurch Community Association and asked him if he had any information to share.


With many thanks for John’s recollections of his Charles Dickens play. The play was staged for three evening performances in the school that later became the Village Hall, now a private residence.


Many villagers took part in the performance including Alfred Tedman the Vicar of Bonchurch Parish Church, who played Dicken’s father.


This was the debut of the Bonchurch Theatre Company. The company performed original plays in Bonchurch and beyond for over 20 years. Many explored local themes. The popular performances meant that limited number of tickets were snapped up very quickly.


Richard Paramor and his partner John who used to run the Pond Stores, founded ‘Friends of the Festival’ that was hugely successful raising the finances to run the festival and publish the book of poems.


Jeane Snudden and Linda Goodwin were also part of the small team that organised this

unique event


JOHN GOODWIN’S BOOKS


SOLO Monologues for Drama Hodder and Stoughton

Co Written with Bill Taylor 1985 2nd Edition 1996


SOLO 2 Further Monologues for Drama Hodder and Stoughton

Co Written with Bill Taylor 1990 2nd Edition 1996


SOLO 3 Monologues for Drama and English Hodder and Stoughton

Co Written with Bill Taylor 1996


TELLING TALES Starting Points for Social Education Edward Arnold

Co Written with Bill Taylor 1988


MEMORIES OF NORWELL Newark District Council 1985


SENT AWAY Nelson English Readers Library 1991

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS Nelson English Readers Library 1993

ROBIN HOOD Nelson English Readers Library 1995



Various youth fiction for Hodder Live Wire for struggling readers


SPEEDWAY RIDER

SPEEDWAY RIDER 2

FOUL PLAY

BACK OF THE NET

THE BIG MATCH

PLACE YOUR BETS

SELLING OUT

ROCK STARS

WATER EYES

SURVIVORS SERIES


2 Short Stories for GARY LINEKER’S FOOTBALL STORIES Macmillan 1997


PETER PAN (retold) WH SMITH 2001

NICE ONE SAM Oxford University Press 20O2

Reprinted as FOOTBALL MAD 2014 OUP


Isle of Wight walking and cycling books for Offcliffe Publications Co written with Ian Williams and Linda Goodwin


CYCLE WIGHT 1996

TIME FOR TEA 2000

CYCLE WIGHT 2 2001

COASTAL WALKS 2005

BONCHURCH FROM A TO Z , 1992 Bonchurch Trading Company


Hardback Illustrated Children’s Fiction for Lion Hudson all with overseas editions

AN ARKFUL OF ANIMAL STORIES 2006

THE LION BOOK OF FIVE MINUTE CHRISTMAS STORIES 2007

THE LION BOOK OF FIVE MINUTE ANIMAL STORIES 2008

THE LION BOOK OF FIVE MINUTE BEDTIME STORIES 2009






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