And Grandsire Went Wrong - written by local author Angela Hodges, originally devised for radio but rewritten for the stage. The play’s plot centres on a group of present day bell ringers who meet weekly in the church at Stoke sub Hamdon for bell ringing practice and the discovery by one of their members, of a set of initials ‘GR’, carved into the stone of the bell tower. This discovery sparks an investigation by ‘Tricia’ who manages to find out that mystery initials belonged to a local resident, George Ralph who lived in the village in  the early twentieth century. The story then unfolds into one that through the telling of George’s story of growing up in Stoke, then going off to the Battle of the Somme in the Great War as a young man, cleverly links the present day bell ringers to the ghosts of the past, in more ways than they had ever imagined!

The stage production of ‘And Grandsire Went Wrong’ was  performed on the first weekend of July, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

The pre performance picnic in the Priory grounds whilst listening to wartime songs from the Stoke sub Hamdon Band.

Stoke Performing Arts Group was greatly supported by the National Trust for allowing us to use the 14th century Priory Tithe Barn and Grounds, Stoke Working Men’s Club and the United Reformed Church for allowing us to use their premises to rehearse, without charge.

The umbrella support of the Stoke Sports and Recreation Trust, who gave us the initial funding to send us on our way. South Somerset District Council who helped us tremendously with advise and a grant, last but not least our Parish Council who also have supported us with a grant. AND you, thank you for your support by coming to watch our inaugural performance in an unique environment.

The Stoke Working Men’s Club for running the bar on behalf of SPAG and provided beer, cider, wine and snacks for the picnic, at the interval and after the show. Ingeniously, they set the bar up in a van, generously loaned to SPAG by Wincantion Print for the purpose.

In Conclusion: the play “And Grandsire Went Wrong” put on by SPAG was a tremendous success. It was a very ambitious project with a team of people who had not been involved in this sort of production before

and in a location that had not designed or equipped for this purpose.

It set out to be a play about the village, by the village and for the village and met all of those objectives fully.

The support from the community to make this project work was humbling. Despite the many problems en route, SPAG produced a wonderful play that brought the community together in so many ways in beautiful surroundings…..and there is still more to come.

© 2018 Stoke-sub-Hamdon Stoke Performing Arts Group

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