BytheWay - Sounds in a Common Wood

BytheWay - Sounds in a Common Wood

Sunday 17th June 2018:
Last 2 performances of BytheWay: Sounds in a Common Wood tonight. There are still tickets available for the 7.30 performance if you get there early. The box office on site is open from 4.30.

“an enchanting performance presented to us by Wimborne Community Theatre – wonderful woven stories, entwined with facts and myth.” (Scene One review)

BytheWay Field 244 Leigh Road, Colehill, Wimborne, BH21 2BZA
Suitable for 7 years and over.

A site-specific performance walk, celebrating a natural green space  Catch glimpses of past travellers through an ancient summer wood – drovers and navvies, soldiers and lovers – and listen to sounds and stories left behind.


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


Letter from Bessie Angell to the War Office

Letter from Bessie Angell to the War Office

Bessie Angell wrote this letter to the War Office after the death of her son, Harry:

Oct 8th 1916
In reply to your notice of this morning we are very please to know our Son was buried decent and in a Cemetery and we thank you very much for informing us about it we are deeply greaved at the lost of our son he is the second one we have lost with the 5th Dorset Regiment will you kindly forward us any thing that may be sent us soon as you can as we shall forget the quicker with many thanks we
Remain your’s respectfully
F & B Angell

View  Copy of Bessie Angell’s original letter – page 1
View  Copy of Bessie Angell’s original letter – page 2


Bistaki Residency

Bistaki Residency

Photo: Gill Horitz
Sylvain, Bill Gee and Charlie Williams experiment with corn

Bistaki Residency 

Sylvain Cousin, of leading European circus company, BistakIi, led an inspiring four-day residency with WCT members, teaching new physical theatre skills, using bags of corn, shovels and buckets, in preparation for collaboration with the company as part of Inside Out Dorset.

Read more about Bistaki.
Read more about WCT’s involvement with Bistaki
Read more about WCT’s involvement with Inside Out


Voices From 1918

Voices From 1918

Photo:  Olive and Florence Harcourt at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital, Colehill.  Olive Harcourt’s diary will be used in the Voices From 1918 project.

The project is being produced by delivery partner organisation ScreenPLAY who will work with the Dorset History Centre, Priests House Museum and others to create a view of 1918 from a Dorset perspective

Voices from 1918 will present the voices of men and women as they experience events in the final year of the war. It will be presented on a daily basis as a series of news, Twitter feeds and apps enabling people to receive stories of each day in 1918 direct to their phones, tablets and computers.

Young people with a learning disability will spend a second day at Dorset History Centre with artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet looking at how Voices from 1918 brings together stories from the archives and modern technology for a new audience.

May Update from Alastair Nisbet:

We’ve spent some time searching the British Library catalogue for Marie Stopes material and will be going up to London for at least a couple of days getting them out – they include her diaries and a series of photographs by George Bernard Shaw which sound interesting.
We were in Bristol for a day with Joan Cocozza who has given us more material about Olive Harcourt.
Joan’s mother was Olive’s housekeeper and Olive because her guardian during the blitz when there was a real danger that her parents might be killed in the bombing.
She then spent half her time with her family and half living at Olive’s house in Clifton where Olive taught her music and the piano.
Our Portland quarryman James Sansom who has been a stretcher bearer with 230 Field Ambulance in Palestine for two and a half years, is finally on his way back to Europe – on a troop transport which has just left Alexandria, bound for Marseilles.
For two weeks his unit were resting near the Suez Canal, swimming in the canal every day. When they arrive in Marseilles on May 7th they will be cheered through the streets by thousands.
Mary Collier’s son Lord Robert Monkswell [home injured] has received a letter from his former driver, also injured but resting back from the front. The boys had a rough time “in the Cambrai lot” he tells his Lordship they were all “in the pink’ at the news that their CO Major Woodward had been awarded the DSO.
Our Voices blog will be up and running soon and will form an accumulating archive of the project.


Dorset History Centre


The Gathering: Messages from the Great War

The Gathering: Messages from the Great War

Photo: Alastair Nisbet

Tickets are on sale for another performance of original documentary theatre, called ‘The Gathering – Messages from the Great War’, which takes place on Friday, June 8 at 7.30 in Wimborne Minster.  

Venue: Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1HT
£8/£7, suitable for 12 years and over; booking essential as audience number limited; from Wimborne TIC: 01202 886116      

The play is a commemoration of the lives of two local soldiers, Will Cutler and Hubert Wareham, who died during the First World War, and two people closely involved in their lives: Will’s wife, Tillie, and the Vicar of Wimborne Minster, Reverend James Fletcher.

The first performance took place in Feburary, at Holtwood Methodist Chapel where Will married Tillie Frampton, in 1913, and further performances are planned as part of Wimborne History Festival in July.

The play is based on the stories and photographs from current family members, and research by Wimborne’s town crier, Chris Brown, as well as research gathered over recent years as apart of the development of WCT’s production What They Left Behind’ (2016).

Liz Frampton, Tillie’s granddaughter, who lives in the same village her grandparents once lived, said: “I am excited that this performance will give me a tiny glimpse of my grandparents, Will and Tillie, whose life I was not privileged to share.”

Visitors to the Priest’s House Museum will be familiar with Hubert Wareham, whose portrait, resplendent in medals for school achievement, is displayed in the schoolroom.

Alan Wareham, Hubert’s great nephew, said: “ We are looking forward to attending the play as it has really brought my Great Uncle Hubert’s story to life and it recognises and honours the great sacrifice that he and others made”.

Writers, Gill Horitz and Tony Horitz, said:“The play is based on letters, photographs and stories provided by family members, local historians and Museum archives.  Using them as stimuli, we have dramatised the voices and thoughts of these four people from these remaining fragments of their lives.”   

James Webb from the Priest’s House Museum said:“As part of the project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, volunteers are undertaking research into the people of East Dorset affected by the conflict on the home front and the front line. Family members have come forward with archives and stories, which have proved invaluable. The use of theatre has the ability to make these stories accessible to new audiences.”

The production will be enhanced by projected images, created by Alastair Nisbet, of ScreenPLAY, and performances by four Dorset-based professional actors: Kevin Burke, Bryony Reynolds, Joe Urquhart, and Jake Baker.

The production by State of Play Arts has been commissioned by the Priest’s House Museum, as part of its ‘The One Hundred Year Heritage of the First World War for Wimborne and East Dorset’ project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 Priest’s House Museum
State of Play Arts