About Tale Valley Community Theatre

Neither human existence nor individual liberty can be sustained for long outside the interdependent and over-lapping communities to which we all belong. Nor can any community long survive unless its members dedicate some of their attention, energy and resources to shared projects. (Etzioni 1997)

Tale Valley Community Theatre (TVCT) was formed following a request from Alf Boom, at that time a member of the Payhembury Parish Hall Committee, to John Somers to make to make a dramatic event to celebrate the turn of the millennium. The result was Parson Terry’s Dinner and other stories. A steady stream of original work has followed, each involving between seventy three and two-hundred and thirty five people to date.

The theatre company focuses mainly on stories which spring from the communities and countryside in Payhembury and surrounding parishes. Such stories have no forum for being shared unless, as Etzioni says, members of a community ‘dedicate some of their attention, energy and resources to shared projects.’

In writing about memory, AC Grayling (2001) says:

‘…what makes a person the same person through life is the accumulating set of memories he carries with him. When these are lost, he ceases to be that person and becomes someone else, new and as yet unformed’.

If we substitute ‘community’ for ‘person’, the statement still holds true, for if a community’s collective memory is lost, it too has to be reformed. Community theatre represents a dynamic exploration and presentation of the defining narratives of a community.

Every TVCT production is original work – from full length plays like ‘Foresight’ to monologues such as New Talking Heads and Interactive Theatre like ‘The Living at Hurford’. The company’s guiding premise is that latent creativity exists in every community and imaginative theatre projects allow it to emerge and develop. We also believe that in the context of the social fragmentation and isolation which increasingly typifies rural life, theatre can be a powerful force to bring people together to investigate and celebrate their presence in a unique part of Britain.

The theory of our work is explored more fully in the ‘Articles’ section of the website. We are always keen to hear from people who are interested in our work or who are doing equally interesting theatre-making elsewhere.

John Somers
Artistic Director