© Barkway Players 2018
The Barkway Players

The first Barkway

pantomime

The Barkway Players have been around since the early 1990s - but we weren’t the first to perform a pantomime in Barkway. We’ve recently been provided with this account of a panto in (it’s thought) 1976 at Barkway Village Hall, courtesy of Caroline Macpherson, who writes: “I'm not quite sure whose idea this was but I remember we met in the Reading Room. Brian Bailey, Janet Healy, Betty Starling and one or two others. I had been asked to join them and I wrote the first act. It was full of traditional pantomime jokes such as "Ooh I haven't laughed so much since we tied the vicar’s shoelaces together and he somersaulted out of the pulpit!" etc. And there was a Minky and Manky exchange, played by Dot Bentley and Carol Coxall. The second and third acts were mainly written as we went along. It was Brian Bailey who came up with "Let's play Postman's Gallop!" Widow Twanky "What’s that then?" "It’s like Postman's Knock but with more horseplay!" All simple stuff! Betty Starling became the producer and was also a dancing girl. After a couple of rehearsals, Janet Healy, who was going to play Aladdin, had to drop out as her family were going to spend Christmas in America, so Elaine took over. We decide early on that we would make fun of the dancing girls who came on when Aladdin rubbed the lamp, and they all entered into this, though they were led by Joan Calvert who was rather gorgeous in the role, as was Wendy Muncey with her long fair hair. The audience were very forgiving and laughed at all our jokes. Giles Hunt did a write up in the parish magazine and declared it "an absolute hoot"! The Royston Crow reported: “According to the audience it was a ‘riotous success’ and full of good clean fun. By popular request the pantomime is to become an annual event.” But as things turned out, Barkway had to wait until the 1990s for pantomimes to become an annual event.

The Barkway Players

In 1992, the village hall committee proposed a one-off musical evening to raise much-needed funds to maintain Barkway Village Hall and create facilities for the disabled.. A meeting was held in the Reading Room and it was standing room only. Somebody suggested adding costumes and a story and sent the organisers away to write a script. Almost by accident, the musical evening metamorphosed into the first Barkway Players pantomime, called Witch Way to the Wizard, based loosely on the Wizard of Oz story, and performed in January 1993 by a cast featuring both adults and children. It proved so successful that everybody wanted it to happen again. The group became known as The Barkway Players.
Every summer since, the Players have met to decide whether they want to create another show, and the answer has always been a resounding “yes”! Since then, the Barkway Pantomime has become something of a local tradition. The group has now performed 26 annual shows, most recently Sleeping Beauty (February 2018). The group has also become a community in itself, with over 60 people involved in the latest show.
©Barkway Players 2018
The Barkway Players

The first Barkway

pantomime

The Barkway Players have been around since the early 1990s - but we weren’t the first to perform a pantomime in Barkway. We’ve recently been provided with this account of a panto in the late 1970s at Barkway Village Hall, courtesy of Caroline Macpherson, who writes: “I'm not quite sure whose idea this was but I remember we met in the Reading Room. Brian Bailey, Janet Healy, Betty Starling and one or two others. I had been asked to join them and I wrote the first act. It was full of traditional pantomime jokes such as "Ooh I haven't laughed so much since we tied the vicar’s shoelaces together and he somersaulted out of the pulpit!" etc. And there was a Minky and Manky exchange, played by Dot Bentley and Carol Coxall. The second and third acts were mainly written as we went along. It was Brian Bailey who came up with "Let's play Postman's Gallop!" Widow Twanky "What’s that then?" "It’s like Postman's Knock but with more horseplay!" All simple stuff! Betty Starling became the producer and was also a dancing girl. After a couple of rehearsals, Janet Healy, who was going to play Aladdin, had to drop out as her family were going to spend Christmas in America, so Elaine took over. We decide early on that we would make fun of the dancing girls who came on when Aladdin rubbed the lamp, and they all entered into this, though they were led by Joan Calvert who was rather gorgeous in the role, as was Wendy Muncey with her long fair hair. The audience were very forgiving and laughed at all our jokes. Giles Hunt did a write up in the parish magazine and declared it "an absolute hoot"! The Royston Crow reported: “According to the audience it was a ‘riotous success’ and full of good clean fun. By popular request the pantomime is to become an annual event.” But as things turned out, Barkway had to wait until the 1990s for pantomimes to become an annual event.

The Barkway

Players

The Barkway Players were formed in 1992 after the village hall committee proposed a one-off musical evening to raise much-needed funds to maintain Barkway Village Hall and create facilities for the disabled.. A meeting was held in the Reading Room and it was standing room only. Somebody suggested adding costumes and a story and sent the organisers away to write a script. Almost by accident, the musical evening metamorphosed into the first Barkway Players pantomime, called Witch Way to the Wizard, based loosely on the Wizard of Oz story, and performed in January 1993 by a cast featuring both adults and children. It proved so successful that everybody wanted it to happen again. The group became known as The Barkway Players. Every summer since, the Players have met to decide whether they want to create another show, and the answer has always been a resounding “yes”! Since then, the Barkway Pantomime has become something of a local tradition. The group has now performed 26 annual shows, most recently Sleeping Beauty (February 2018). The group has also become a community in itself, with over 60 people involved in the latest show.