The 2005 programme included the phenomenal Scarecrow Safari and our first ever visit from The Rudes…
Scarecrow Safari – 4 June 2005
On Saturday 4 June, there were scarecrows everywhere! Leaning over fences, in front gardens, on the roadside, on the school field, burgling houses, chained to railings, sitting on seats, sitting on the loo, calming traffic, in the pub car park, on the stream, mending a Landrover, going on holiday, singing, gardening, drunk, cutting hedges, playing cricket and many, many more. There was even one in a field!
There were 36 official entries and with other latecomers, over 40 in total. And you turned out in great numbers on the safari trail to look at them all. It was great to see the roads filled with people viewing the entries, comparing notes, laughing and admiring the range of ideas and constructions that were on offer and enjoying a nice, sunny day.
At 5.30 there was a procession of scarecrows from the Rec to the Village Hall, where all the entries gathered together on the school field made a most impressive sight. Some ninety people then sat down to a scarecrow supper of fish and chips, with entertainment from Don Partridge and Waxus.
The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company – The Fairy Queen – 24 June 2005
The first rule for event organisers is never take the British weather for granted! We booked the famous Rude Mechanical Theatre Company to perform The Fairy Queen on the school field, on the rebound from a cancellation at Walmer Castle.
Weather forecasts were scanned anxiously and all looked set fair. Severe thunderstorms on the day were predicted, but every forecast said these would miss us. The day dawned well and got hotter as it progressed. The company arrived at 4pm and they were set up by 5.30pm, the stage, the lighting, the props and costumes. Meanwhile picnics were being packed and bottle of white wine chilled in homes around the village, as we all looked forward to a glorious summer evening of entertainment.
The first sign of trouble at about 5.45pm was a vivid flash of lightening away to the west, followed about 10 seconds later by a huge thunderclap. This rapidly developed into a major display of pyrotechnics forever rolling nearer. We all reassured ourselves that it was a passing phase, it wouldn’t reach Crowhurst, etc etc, and remained confident that the show would go on. Fifteen minutes later, as people began to arrive with their picnics, the sky had darkened and our confidence had evaporated. A rapid conference with the company manager, wise in weather lore from several hundred outdoor performances, decided that discretion was the better part of valour and we should activate Plan B and do the show in the Village Hall. We just about got everything moved before the heavens opened.
The company did a wonderful job of adapting quickly to the new surroundings and coping with the hall’s lack of basic technical facilities, while we all crammed together in the far half, disconsolately eating our picnics. However, the rather sombre mood was rapidly dispelled when the performance started.
The play was beautifully written and directed by Pete Talbot, with an intelligent regard for the commedia del’arte tradition, with lashings of humour and finely drawn characters. The actors were superb with great technical skills and handling a bewildering array of entrances, exits, quick fire scenes and character changes. Though without their set, their wonderful and fantastic costumes and the accompanying live music and sound effects created a magical, mysterious forest near Athens full of amazing characters.
The audience loved it and rose in thunderous applause at the end of the show with many demanding that we bring the Rude Mechanicals back to Crowhurst next year.
– John Spall
Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre – Morning, Noon and Marilyn Monroe – 1 October 2005
Because this show involved dance, it needed plenty of floor space and we had to restrict the audience to sixty.
There were a few disappointed villagers. Sorry. It WAS worth booking early.