Wimpole Fringe History Festival
After the great success WRiTEON had with our Capability and Beyond project, culminating in 9 new short plays staged at Wimpole on two nights last June, the National Trust invited us back.
With 11 writers, 12 directors and 35 acting roles, this was a major undertaking for WRiTEON.
Performances were at 7.30pm on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July, in The Old Rectory Restaurant on the Wimpole Estate at Arrington SG8 0BW (near Royston).
The writers were inspired by various objects they found inside Wimpole Hall, itself.
Below are a select few of the unique objects that served as inspiration:
Intrigued? Want to know more about the stories these objects inspired?
Below is a list of all of the plays and the creative teams involved in each:
OH, WHO WOULD WISH TO BE A COOK? by Lindsey McAuley
DIRECTED by Sarah Ingram
MARY – Kirsty Smith, CLARA -Leah Plant, COOK – Rosemary Eason
It’s the usual busy day in the Wimpole kitchens. With the weekend shoot looming and Clara’s inability to do anything right; will Cook make it to the end of the day without causing someone a mischief?
WATER FROM THE LAKE by Helen Mulligan
DIRECTED by Tracy James & Gill Williamson
SARAH – Hannah Caughtry, GRACE – Megan Malpas, FRAU KOHLER – Jean Summers, ALFRED – Nathan Graves
It’s 1807. Grace, the under parlourmaid, investigates a mystery using the model of a new feature in the Wimpole grounds.
DOG-END by Clare Day
DIRECTED by Tricia Peroni
DAVID – James Stedman, KELLY – Izzy Rees
Kelly’s new interest in china dogs is harmless – or is it?
UNTIMELY by Pauline Radley
DIRECTED by Susie Halksworth
PHILIP, LORD HARDWICKE – Sean Lang ELIZABETH – Kirsty Smith, WILLIAM EDWARDS – David Monksfield, JANE EDWARDS – Leah Plant
It’s 1797 and everyone wants to mark their time, but since the tax no-one can afford to.
COALS FOR THE PORTER’S CHAIR by Richard Peoples
DIRECTED by Paul Malpas
BILL LOCKE – Colin Simpson, NED SMITH – James Malpas
It’s a bitterly cold night. William Locke, the hall porter, is waiting for the coals that will keep him warm, but his patience is wearing thin…
THE CLOCK IN THE HALL by James Stedman
DIRECTED by Alan Hay
CHARLIE – James Stedman, WILLIAM – Andrew Bailey
The clock has stopped for William and Charlie. What makes their relationship tick? What does the next day hold for them?
MAGGIE’S BIRTHDAY by Susie Halksworth
DIRECTED by Pamela Jenner
RACHEL – Helen Dalgleish, MOLLY – Zoe Walker, SALLY – Stephanie Swan, ANNE – Emily Lattimore
Maggie’s birthday is coming up soon. How can her sisters find a gift that can start to mend their relationship?
THE FOOTMAN by Sue Whitney
DIRECTED by James Stedman
LADY ELIZABETH – Izzy Rees ,SAMUEL HUDSON – Martin Hall, EARL – Andrew Bailey
Set in 1796, against a backdrop of English expansionism, the story plots the fortunes of a young footman employed at Wimpole. This historical fiction explores the themes of inequality, class and slavery through a tragic love story.
DEAD MAN’S PENNY by Mari Vindis
DIRECTED by John Parry
RUDYARD KIPLING – Steve Attmore, JOHN KIPLING- Ed Ward
It is 1915 and Rudyard Kipling’s 18 year old son John, prepares for battle in the Great War
THE PRICE OF MAHOGANY by Sean Lang
DIRECTED by Kim Komljanec
EARL Sean Baker, JOSEPH SIMM -Colin Simpson, CLEMENTINE – Cristina Gomes, MRS GLYN – Anne-Marie Hughes, KANGE – Gerry Crowe
Lord Chancellor Hardwicke has power over other people’s life and liberty. He also has a strange confrontation awaiting him within his new mahogany table.
MRS BAMBRIDGE’S KITCHEN by Sarah Christou
DIRECTED by Andrew Bailey
MR TROTMAN – Leon Coleman, RODERICK PALMER – Matt McLaren, MISS GRAY – Ciara McClelland, MRS BAMBRIDGE – Sarah Ingram
Summer 1953. Mrs Bambridge wants a kitchen. Mr Trotman needs a sale. As two worlds collide over linoleum and doorknobs, will Mr Trotman get his sale?
PRODUCERS – Julia Bolden & Kim Komljanec
HISTORY CONSULTANT – Sean Lang
MUSIC & SOUND – James Ingram
Want to know more about how the project was created? There were three distinct phases to the creative process:
1. WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS
This workshop covered some basic information about historical research and the history of Wimpole as well as some innovative playwriting approaches to help the writers find inspiration.
It looked at how historical artifacts can be interpreted in various ways, how physical objects can help writers create characters, plots or theme etc.
Workshop leaders were Sean Lang (playwright and Senior Lecturer in History at the ARU, read more about him by clicking his photo below:
…and Kim Komljanec, playwright and dramaturg, WRiTEON’s chair, read more about her by clicking her photo below:
2. FEEDBACK AND REWRITING, REWRITING AND FEEDBACK
After submitting their first drafts, the writers were offered written feedback from the two facilitators and asked for a second draft. The rewriting process differed from writer to writer, some were asked to make sure the historical data they have incorporated is accurate, others encouraged to dig deeper into the form or theme they had chosen, again others were given advice on developing their characters or plot. All feedback was there to help the writers develop their play and improve their writing skills in general.
Second drafts of the plays were then read in a workshop-style read-through with actors. This was another opportunity for the writers to get feedback, this time from those having to bring their lines from the page to the stage, which is a valuable experience for any writer, regardless of experience. Depending on each play and writer, there was another stage of written feedback and rewriting process following the read-through.
This whole phase took place between November 2016 and April 2017.
Once we had received the final drafts, the producer came on board. Julia Bolden has brought her expertise to that role. Click on her photo below to find out more about her:
Plays were then assigned a director and cast and rehearsed during June