Sid Vale community play gets funding boost

Money means free places for school kids

A SID Vale Community play has been handed a cash boost that will benefit young people studying World War One.

Organisers of Johnny Jack’s War say they’re “enormously grateful” for up to �1,400 of Sid Vale Association Keith Owen Fund cash that will allow them to offer free places to some secondary school children.

The funding has also bagged the production, which will run from November 9 to 12 at Sidbury Village Hall, professional lighting and technical support.

Sidmouth Town Council also handed the play �500, and Councillor Stuart Hughes followed suit with the same amount from his county council locality budget.

This �1,000 will help with costume hire, running costs and props.

“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Johnny Jack’s War director Crosby Chacksfield.

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“The play couldn’t have gone ahead without this money, certainly not as we envisaged. It takes an enormous amount of pressure off us.”

The production, penned by Branscombe playwright Pete Wilson, charts the opening months of the First World War and its impact on a rural village.

“The play is designed to offer any member of our community the opportunity to participate in the theatrical experience,” said Crosby. Keith Owen Fund money has helped provide free tickets for limited numbers of students studying history or drama at secondary schools in the area.

Retired teacher Crosby added: “This arrangement, which has been taken up enthusiastically by Sidmouth College in particular, pleases me as I firmly believe that theatre can be very effective in helping young people understand the issues facing communities under stress.

“The community play production style is an especially useful form of theatre in this respect, as it brings the audience very close to the action.”

A range of performers and helpers are lending a hand to the project.

Crosby said that funding, a donation by Branscombe Marine and support from local businesses means costs can be met. Ticket and programme sales and a prize draw will pay final bills.

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