THE STORY SO FAR…………………………………………….
Nineteen years ago, we noticed that although we had a fantastic adult amateur dramatic group in this area there was nothing for children. It was therefore decided to get some children together to set up their own group and The Junior Wriggle Valley Players was born.
We have had many successes over the past nineteen years, including raising a huge amount of money for good causes. The success of the group is due to the enthusiasm of the children and our aim is to give them confidence to speak in public, to have fun and an understanding of each other. We encourage each child to take part to whatever ability in music, singing, dancing and acting, and also in directing and producing and writing.
After a very successful year in 2002 we decided to again run throughout 2003. Another ambitious timetable was planned, still meeting on a fortnightly basis and to improve funding we invoiced members termly and charging £1 per session.
Our main productions for 2003 were “Alice The Musical” which had eighteen brilliant songs and a witty script, which we performed in June, followed by a church performance of a Christmas Play “Stable Manners” in December. Both shows allowed us to make donations of £50 to the Leigh Brownies and £50 for the Yetminster Scout Group and also a £75 donation towards St Andrew’s Church, Yetminster.
In 2004 we decided to change our meetings to weekly on Tuesday evenings at Yetminster Scout Hut and our main production was yet another witty musical “Hoodwinked” about Robin Hood which was performed in June.
Two donations of £75 were made to Leigh Brownie towards their camp and Yetminster Scout Group. After all the hard work the children came to a free BBQ where they were all rewarded with medals. This was followed by a Christmas show at Chetnole Church where the parents were able to get together for mince pies and mulled wine and the children received a gift each.
In 2005 we performed a very ambitious play “Moving on” which went well and in our Christmas nativity we raised £60 for Biblelands, a Christian charity.
In spring 2006, not only did we do a full production, we also managed to do a “Mother’s Day Show” to entertain the parents and get them involved in our drama games. In addition, we had an Indian Night where an employee from Clippers gave us all a talk about Kotada and an end of term BBQ where the children received medals. We also introduced two cups to the proceedings – one for the juniors and one for the seniors for best improved for the year.
At Christmas we decided that the children could write their own plays so we split the group into four and gave them a Christmas song each to sing and then they wrote a play around the title of their song. This was performed in front of family and friends in December and was followed by a Christmas tea and the children all received a present from the group.
2007 was very exciting with a chilly (we performed in a barn in March!) performance of Peace Child, which raised £250 for Julia’s House. We also spent three weeks filming our version of a battle between pirates and the Navy – just off the coast of Yetminster, which we made into a short film with the aid of some “A” level students at the Gryphon School.
For our winter show we performed The Snow Queen at Thornford Village Hall raising £500 for SHIPS, which provides support for children with acquired brain injuries in schools.
In 2008 we took on a younger group of children and lost many of our year six children who were starting secondary school. Having discussed the options of a summer show we decided to do two Roald Dahl stories both set to music – so Snow White and Jack and the Beanstalk at Leigh Village Hall in June. Proceeds from this went to Yetminster Scout Group and Leigh Brownies. In the autumn we worked on Remembrance Day, with the older children writing plays on joining the war and being evacuees and acting out a play based in Manchester during the war. This was followed by our Christmas Sketch Show which parents and families were invited to watch followed by a guest appearance from Father Christmas and mulled wine and supper.
In 2009 we put on a magnificent show of Wind in the Willows followed by a Christmas sketch show for families of the children in the group including a visit from Father Christmas.
In 2010 we are performed our Summer Show “Skool and Crossbones”. We also were invited to perform at the Sherborne celebration of the Railway coming to Sherborne on 8th May 2010 at Pageant Gardens. We chose to do a shortened version of The Railway Children.
At this stage we decided to change our group slightly. We wanted to include teenagers who were not getting the chance to perform elsewhere. It was decided to continue with the Junior Wriggle Valley Players meeting weekly and to add another group for the teenagers on a Sunday evening. We also included teenagers in a rock musical version of Romeo and Juliet at Leigh Village Hall in December 2010. What a success! With support from Popeye and The Pixies, a local rock band, a modern version of a Shakespeare classic hit the stage.
In 2011, due to the previous success of running the two groups together, we chose Cider with Rosie, which went down a storm supported by local musicians. The profits from this show were split between Yetminster Scouts, Leigh Brownies and sponsor of a student going to work in an orphanage in India.
The sharp-eyed who attended the adult section’s very successful pantomime of “Red Riding Hood” may have spotted quite a few of the old “Juniors” in the cast, including Amy Goodfellow who was a marvellous lead as granddaughter of Red Riding Hood.
In 2012 The Junior Wriggle Valley Players performed Cinderella and Rockerfella, a fantastic fun musical with all the drama of a proper pantomime. This enabled us to support Yetminster Scouts to raise money to help refurbish the Scout Hut – our home during most of the year.
In 2013, with now KS3, KS2 and KS1 children, we performed at the Crib service on Christmas Eve in Sherborne Abbey with a congregation of 1000 people. We entertained our families to our Christmas show followed by Christmas tea with a visit from Father Christmas and finally we performed Alice the Musical. This musical is a tricky KS3 show and the children rose to the challenge of taking on multiple characters and performed a brilliant two nights.
During a very wet February in 2014, with our numbers standing at 20, we performed the beautiful production of The Snow Queen raising money to help towards a new sound system at Leigh Village Hall and also collecting £156 on the door to support Somerset Flood victims, who were particularly affected that year with extreme flooding.
In the autumn of 2014, the children performed the very funny script Aladdin Trouble, which was enjoyed by fantastic audiences and the cast alike. During this time, we gained several teenage helpers who volunteered through the Duke Of Edinburgh award scheme. They were a privilege to have with us and worked very hard backstage to ensure that the productions ran smoothly.
This production was swiftly followed by Scrooge – A Ghost of a Chance which we performed at the end of February 2015.
In 2016 we joined our adult group and performed in the pantomime “Dick Whittington” and also managed to entertain people at Yetminster Fair with our production of Bully!
In 2017 we recreated The Frog prince which we took to both Yetminster Fair and Evershot Country Fair.
During 2018 the children performed a brilliant production of Robin Hood, with a fantastic script and excellent singing; they raised much needed funds for Leigh play area. Following this, the older children approached us to write their own play. Although slightly nervous about the ability to write a play that would be publicly acceptable, the six children joined forces, firstly to create characters and then to write a scene each. The summer play was born and a witty script with added music was excitedly received on Yetminster Fair afternoon. The play was called “A Twist in the Tale”, which told the story of children swept into a fairy tale world and having to find clues to get home.
On Saturday 30th March 2019 we performed a narrative play of Wind in the Willows, which was received with delight from our wonderful audience. In the summer, we performed an abridged musical of Midsummer Night’s Dream for Yetminster Fair.
The original aims of the Junior Wriggle Valley Players were to help young children develop their confidence and introduce them to the joys and experiences that drama can offer, but it has developed into something much more as children pass through are doors building friendships and team working from across many local schools that they carry forward into secondary school. We try to perform two shows a year and on top of that we have our own award ceremony, perform to parents and sing in Sherborne Abbey at Christmas.