Millstream Theatre

Millstream Theatre

Millstream actors recording with Adrian Newton

Millstream Theatre, based at Priest’s House Museum, will take part in the 2020 Revival theatre project commemorating the opening of the refurbished museum.

Millstream performed in ‘Echoes of the Past’ in a scene staged in the Victorian Kitchen featuring a mysterious encounter between two people who worked in the building while it was still a residence –  Hannah Bartlett, servant to the Low Family in the 19th century, and Ralph Lowles, shop assistant at the Ironmongery run by the Coles family for much of the 20th century.

Millstream meet regularly at PHM, and the group is facilitated by Tam Gilbert, of Persuasion Arts, and Tony HoritzState of Play Arts.


Animating ‘Echoes of the Past'

Animating ‘Echoes of the Past'

John Low in front of the Priest’s House Museum, drawn by student from St Michael’s School (Photo credit: Alastair Nisbet)

A Wimborne Stationers shop, boarded up for 30 years, has been brought to life in animated form by a group of students at St Michael’s Middle School, Wimborne, as part of Wimborne Community Theatre’s Echoes of the Past project commissioned by the Priest’s House Museum.

Pupils made both screen-based and Victorian zoetrope animations to tell the story of John Low’s shop and how it went on to become an award-winning museum.

Working with artists Nic Rawling, Alastair Nisbet and Hannah Small, the 12 and 13 year old students recreated the story of John Low whose boarded-up shop became a time capsule – and its contents a nationally important collection.

They drew and voiced the main characters, John Low and museum founder Hilda Coles, brought the museum’s mummified cat to life and animated a Victorian lady writing “to my love” on an 1860s Valentine.

Alastair Nisbet, animator and producer from arts organisation ScreenPLAY explained:
Nic who performs internationally with the Paper Cinema makes a unique type of live animation so as well as drawing and voicing the characters in traditional film sequences, the group have worked with him to make four Victorian style zoetrope animations.
The zoetropes and films will form an installation for the promenade theatre event Echoes of the Past which takes place in June.

Read more about the project.

Ron Jenkinson, Headteacher at St Michael’s said the artists’ mini residency had given students a taste of life in the creative industries.

They have drawn, storyboarded, voice recorded, filmed and above all worked together as a team to make some beautiful work for a real world project and that’s been a great experience for them.


Dunja Wood, 1949-2018

Dunja Wood, 1949-2018

Dunja first became involved in WCT when she was teaching at Pamphill School in the 1990s, and her class took part in WCT’s first production, ‘Voyages’, in 1991 at Kingston Lacy.  Dunja performed with over thirty Year 3 & 4 students as a group of Durotrigues meeting the Veneti (QE students), on the slopes of the Cedar Avenue.

Since then, Dunja has been a stalwart supporter of the group, from steering group member to costume designer, photographer to back stage support.  Nothing was ever too much or too difficult for her, and she met every challenge with a positive and cheerful manner.

Dunja’s creativity and calm presence will be very much missed by everyone at WCT,  but she’ll always be an invaluable part of the company’s development and history.


Fundraising Quiz

Fundraising Quiz

A fun time was had at the Quiz Night  on Wednesday, November 7 and we raised around £300 to help develop the group’s next community theatre project at the Priest’s House Museum in June 2019.

Thank you especially to Quizmaster John Billington, Ace Caterer Clare Small, and to all members of the group who helped and all those who came along to support us.

The next fundraising event will be the Treasure Trail on Friday July 12th.  Watch this space for further details.



WCT's Giant Puppet at Wimborne War on Waste Street Party

WCT's Giant Puppet at Wimborne War on Waste Street Party

WCT’s giant-puppet, now renamed Iris Willow-Walker, took to the streets of a very wet town at Wimborne War on Waste’s Street Party on Saturday 22 September 2018.

WWOW organizers invited WCT to provide a short dramatic provocation, flagging up the key issue of the global environmental threat caused by single use plastics. So we revived the Naiad, the giant puppet first seen last summer emerging from the ancient pond in Leigh Common in our production ‘By The Way’.

The Naiad’s new role was as another Giant, based on the popular storybook of the same name by Charles and Julia Snape. The giant who has lived for many years as a hill above a fictional town in the countryside near the sea, offering people shade, shelter, fruit and flowers, as well as a special place to play safely. But she grows fed up of them taking her for granted, digging holes in her and dumping their rubbish on her, and, one night, gets up and walks away into the nearby sea. The people are horrified and try to persuade her to come back but she won’t until they make it clear how they will change their ways.

Iris made her way down Mill Lane into the Square  accompanied by live music and performed to the words of a poem based on the book, The Giant. We then made our way in procession to the Minster Green, where members of the public were invited to stop by our craft stall (staffed mainly by Clare and Hannah) and make their own mini puppets to fly around the giant.

The puppet was designed and made from recycled materials by WCT members Clare and Hannah Small, assisted by others.

See more photos here

See the outline for the performance and the words of the poem The Giant


Gertrude Coggin’s Autograph Book

Gertrude Coggin’s Autograph Book

Autograph Book
This album belonged to Gertrude Bessie Coggin (1879-1963), a music teacher who nursed patients at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital during the First World War.  Ms. Coggin remained in Wimborne all her life and never married.

Entries date from April 1911 to 1941 but the vast majority (circa 60) were inscribed by soldiers who were patients at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital between 1914 and 1919. Some of the pencilled sketches and half-dozen small snapshots are a little faded but the inked entries are all fine.

Somehow the autograph album ended up in London (“Priest Marion Co. Ltd., 3 Farringdon Rd., Holborn LEC1” [written in biro on page one]), where it was purchased in the 1990s from a bookseller’s stall on Exmouth Market.  It was then bought on the internet in 2015 by a Wimborne resident.

For which kind deed, and the
Former care, ‘merce’ he would say
Ere he packs his kit, for camp
Or billet, and travels on his way.
And when the accounts of ‘inasmuch’
Are being reckoned up.
I hope the name of Beacuroft
House will be somewhere near.

Pt G Robinson
1/8 Middlesex Regt