Welcome to Midacre, a few miles from Swaffham, not too far from the real villages of West Acre, South Acre and Castle Acre, and set in the midst of rolling farmland, with acres of woodland and its own country estate.
Set around the village green, Midacre has a real sense of community – a community made up from people who were born in the village as well as those who have chosen to make new lives there.
Midacre was conceived and written by Sue Welfare, and recorded back in 2014. Sue said: “I’m Norfolk born and bred and very proud of it. In the media, it seems to me – as a county – we are very under represented and often portrayed as none too bright or unaware of what’s going on in the rest of the world, so I wanted to write something to show people what they’re missing – and that reflected contemporary country life in a small village.
“It was great fun to invent the characters – for me that is the best part of story telling. I really hope you enjoy listening to it.”
First heard on Watton Radio, now sadly no more, Midacre was aired on Sunday lunchtime and repeated on Wednesdays. After that episodes were posted online on the Breckland View website, a forebear to this one.
The players were all local people who had worked on a variety of productions. Among them were members of the Boo and Hiss Theatre Company of Watton, the Methwold Theatre Club, local play reading groups, together with actors with experience in film and radio.
Director, Dave Scragg, is well known in the Watton area and he has a wealth of acting experience, has worked on Radio Norfolk and a number of local radio stations, he has produced some highly acclaimed audio work covering World War 1 – the Somme and Passiondale, together with production work on Sherlock Holmes. He is also a keen musician playing the trombone across the county with folk bands, philharmonic orchestras, scratch bands and symphonettes!
Producer Paul Young who has worked in radio for 20 years said “It was great fun working with these wonderful actors.
“Doing a radio play was a new experience for most of them and everyone wanted to get it done professionally and make it sound great. A lot of time and energy was put into Midacre and I am very pleased with the ten episodes produced.
“This was all done voluntarily and I would like to thank everyone for their input and in particular to Roy Ivory at Watton radio who has done a lot of work behind the scenes.”
Midacre was written and originated by Sue Welfare, Directed by Dave Scragg and Produced by Paul Young. Midacre music composed and arranged by Pete Allison. Performed by the Root Music All Stars.
All ten episodes are here for you to enjoy when you wish, with a bonus track of Sue and Paul talking about the production.
Episode 1: Party preparations are in full swing, soup making is a little frosty, the model railway has a wow factor but did the party go down like a house on fire?
Episode 2: There was a fire in Midacre – was anyone hurt and what was the damage? We also have two new residents arrive in the village who might just cause sparks of their own
Episode 3: Whales in a Bedroom, whilst Joe and Jackie settle into their new home . . .
Episode 4: The villagers are coming to terms with the fire, whilst Jackie has an encounter with Tom on a country lane . . .
Episode 5: Theres lots to talk about in the village shop and preparations for the wedding of the year are taking place but is it all going to go smoothly?
Episode 6: Hannahs wedding plans are well underway and the autumn menu at the Crown gets everyone talking but Libby gets indigestion?
Episode 7: Libby has had her baby..in the pub! Hannah is preparing the guest list for her wedding on her own and we meet Lola
Episode 8: Ben is with Libby and their baby at the maternity ward, the wedding plans at the village hall don’t go down very well whilst Jackie and Tom search for mysterious noises . . .
Episode 9: Midacre welcomes James Dexter Cooper; the smell of cabbage, drains and floor polish does that bode well for a wedding venue? The harvest supper is a talking point and Jackie seems to be getting a lot of attention from her new friend . . .
Episode 10: Excitement for the wedding builds, theres a recycling surprise for Lola and Hannah drops a bombshell . . .
Midacre Producer, Paul Young, reporting for The Breckland View at the time talked to Sue about her creation:
The Players are:
Bunny Rainer ~ Jane Luckman
Ed (Rainer) ~ Edward Dack
Jan Haylet ~ Elaine Darby
Kate Harris ~ Sheila Welland
Hannah Rainer ~ Sarah Simonds
Libby Cooper ~ Stacey Wilkinson
Ben Cooper ~ Julian Horn
Harry Hunter ~ Roger Warner
Lola Lawrence ~ Bonnie Robertson
Philip Lawrence ~ Burtie Welland
Joe Halliday ~ Richard Cullen
Jackie Fenton ~ Gabbie Joyce
Tom ~ Sam Ward
Val Beamish ~ Ginny Robson-Hull
Linda ~ Tina Camfield
Adam ~ Jovi Poole
Carrie Brooks ~ Linda Nuttall
Waitress ~ Georgina Simonds
Fireman ~ Alan Canfield
Insurance Man ~ Alan Canfield
The Player’s bios as published in 2014 are . . .
|Alan Camfield: Prior to joining Methwold Theatre Club Alan had no experience on stage except as a junior school play scene shifter and local scout gang show more years ago than he cares to remember. However, he has enjoyed parts in MTC productions during the years. Initially joining the club with a view to contributing to the practical side – set and prop design. He found himself the reluctant actor in MTC’s first production of Natural Causes in 2012. He was set manager and constructed and built the sets of both productions with the help of the cast and crew.
Tina Camfield: Before joining Methwold Theatre Club in 2011, Tina had only ever appeared in two mini Christmas plays at her church in 2009 and 2010. Since joining MTC she has been in a series of Christmas sketches and a stage radio play. She made her full acting debut in MTC’s first production Natural Causes in 2012. In 2013 she took on a quite daunting role in MTC’s second production Dead Guilty.
Stacy Wilkinson: Stacy lives with her partner in Watton, and has four grown-up children and a baby granddaughter. She runs her own natural healthcare business and has also been a member of the Boo & Hiss Theatre Company of Watton for almost 9 years.
|Richard Cullen has worked on a range of film a television shows, including background roles on films ‘The Monuments Men’, ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’, with featured appearances on the cult television show ‘Black Mirror’, and on the military history docudrama series ‘Black Ops’. Richard frequently portrays uniformed characters on film, so has really enjoyed getting to grips with the character of Joe, Midacre’s new Head Gardener. When not acting, Richard works as a supply teacher in local schools. He is also a Scout Master, and enjoys scuba diving, flying and just being outdoors. Although his Granddad worked on the farms of the Blofeld Estate in Hoveton, Richard says he would certainly not describe himself as Head Gardener material!
Roger Warner says that his acting experience is nil, which is just as well since the part he plays in Midacre is slightly grumpy and a little eccentric. Hi wife Suzanne told him “just be yourself.”
Roger’s hobbies include learning Russian and infrequent travelling to Eastern Europe.
|Julian Horn somehow managed to avoid amateur dramatics for most of his life but a brief appearance on stage four years ago with the Boo and Hiss Theatre Company of Watton, dressed as a woman(!), has ignited his interest. His favourite role of late has been as David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley. Julian has a love of all things historical and technological.
|Gabbie Joyce: Midacre may be Gabbie’s first venture into the world of acting, but she is already a familiar voice on community radio. Making her debut on Wayland Radio with The Gardening Programme, which she produced and presented, more recently she was the voice of Watton Radio’s Weekly View and currently a community reporter with The Breckland View. Gabbie lives with her partner, Paul Young (producer) and their 3 much spoilt cats. When not working or on radio, Gabbie can be found in the garden, often on her hands and knees under the bushes – weeding the organic way!
Elaine Darby: I am married with one son aged 28. We have lived in Norfolk for over thirty years. I enjoy travelling , walking with our lovely border terrier Molly, cooking and music, especially live music events.
I work as a medical secretary. Working with the Mid acre team has helped me fulfil an ambition to do some radio acting
|Sheila Welland: Sheila is a founding member of Methwold Theatre Club together with Burtie, and has been acting and directing for over thirty years. In Kent she has appeared with Beckenham Theatre, Farnborough Dramatic Society, Pratts Bottom Dramatic Society, Bromley Little Theatre, Hayes Players, Imperial Players and Beckenham Amateur Dramatic Society. Since moving to Norfolk Sheila has acted and directed with Methwold Theatre Club and also directed professionally with Black Ram taking ‘Abigail’s Party’, ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ and ‘Playhouse Creatures’ on provincial tours and to the Greenwich Theatre in London. Sheila’s favourite acting roles have been Mim in ‘Outside Edge’, Kate Keller in ‘The Miracle Worker’, Vi in ‘The Memory of Water’, Helen in ‘We Happy Few’ and of course now Kate in ‘Midacre’
|Burtie Welland: Burtie has had a long and varied acting/directing career stretching back over 30 years. His directorial debut was Alan Bennett’s ‘Habeas Corpus’ for a group called Malignant Features in Portsmouth back in 1976 and since then he has acted and directed with more groups than he cares to remember. He trained at Rose Bruford and since leaving his past life as a Policeman in London he has become an actor, writer and presenter. He has acted professionally for the BBC, This Rough Magic Theatre Company, Titchfield Festival Theatre, TV Choice and Black Ram where he was part of five provincial and national tours in little over a year culminating in the role of Danforth in ‘The Crucible’. Together with Sheila he formed Methwold Theatre Club and has acted, directed and written for them over the last three years combining this with writing and acting in murder mysteries for four professional companies, presenting and writing CSI events for Right Angle Events, medical role playing for three companies, presenting a show on Watton Radio and attempting to finish a book …he is now starting to think about writing some scripts for ‘Midacre’..
|Paul Young: Paul enjoys radio and has been voluntarily involved for the last fifteen years. Recent work has been with Wayland Radio, Radio Seagull, Watton Radio and the Glastonbury festival radio station Worthy fm. He’s presented music shows, done interviews with a wide range of people ranging from celebrities in the world of show business to MPs to interesting members of the public with stories to tell. Editing audio and putting together features are a source of enjoyment and relaxation from work! Paul says that Midacre has been a challenge but also great fun and he is looking forward to future episodes and working with everyone again . . .
|Bonnie Robertson: [Edit: Sadly Bonnie is no longer with us] I started radio at RAF Shawbury in 1965 and went on to RAF Kinloss. Moved to Wayland Radio after a long break and presented Morning Show on a Thursday. I went on to be the Researcher for Lunch at the Market Place on Diss Radio. I first entered in AmDram in 1981 when children were at school and went on to work as Stage Manager for The Wayland Players. I love to read, love poetry esp John Cooper Clarke and Beowulf and love to sing with Big Heart and Soul Choir, a community choir from Castle Acre. I am organising a Norfolk Community Choirs Fest for next year bringing together all the choirs in Norfolk which is approx 12 or 200 singers. I enjoyed reading for MidAcre and looking forward to the next series.