Tell us your River Stories & Memories

Tell us your River Stories & Memories

WCT is planning a site-specific community theatre production in 2021 performed in, on or near the Wimborne River Allen (one of the purest chalk streams in Europe) or the River Stour.

To launch the project we invite you to tell a Wimborne river story or memory to be shared with people from around the world in celebration of World Rivers Day, on Sunday, September 27.
Please use the form below and send to us.

We welcome stories from people of all ages, and family stories about a favourite place, or times spent fishing, swimming, bird watching, picnicking, reflecting or just walking by the river. 
What does being near the river mean to you?

Read other people’s stories and memories here

If you prefer to remain anonymous, please state.  Otherwise your name will be published alongside your memory on the WCT website.

Why WCT members are focusing on our local rivers for the next production:                            

  • We asked ourselves: how much do we know about the river?  How often do we stop and look?  Who does look, and why?
  • We talked about the beneficial sense we feel of being close to water, seeing birds and the wildlife of the river bank, of pausing to look, and of spending time close to nature, and the importance now of people thinking about ecological issues.

Members agreed that we would create a River production which:

  • Reveals – what lies beneath the familiarity of our locality, in terms of history and ecology and explore threats to the East Dorset environment, & ‘to open people eyes and ears’ through performance and sound. We will explore how people with visual impairments will be able to explore this, through touch and hearing.
  • Connects and Develops – an existing sense of community felt by many WCT members, that Wimborne town represents a ‘heart’ situated in an ancient location alongside the rivers, a place inhabited since Neolithic times – and to encourage involvement of people who may live outside ‘mainstream’ cultural activities.
  • Explores some of the following issues:
  • appearance of otters and how they bring joy to observers
  • the sounds and behaviour of fish
  • local voices
  • making what we notice and prioritise accessible through theatre
  • tensions and differences with regards changes to our environment

Photo by Gill Horitz




Group Poems • Writing In the Time of Covid

By: Tuppy Hill, Lynn Davy, Adrian Newton, Stewart Bullen, Sue Bullen, Charlie Williams, Dave Arkell, Barbara Brann, Barbara Hart, Hannah/Eva Small, Tam Gilbert, Jeff Hart, Viv Miller , Marion Leatherdale, Tony Horitz, Clare Small, Gill Horitz

Constantly buzzing busy bees,
over and over they thrum,
victims of deforestation.
I will plant them more flowers.
Dancing will reveal their location

Tuppy, Gill, Tony, Lynn, Adrian

Contrails cancelled, calm cloudless cerulean,
oceans of oxygen,
vivid voices vocalised in trees,
in the willow, in the wind.
Down below we watch, wait.

Lynn, Adrian, Tuppy, Gill, Tony
Ceasing making any sound at all
outside and inside.
Very hushed, while the bird
I spot in the buddleia
darts away as I reach for my camera.

Adrian, Tuppy, Gill, Tony, Lynn

Can anything be the same, after this thing has done its worst and
left the world to mourn?
Or will those left move on, untouched, unswerving from their former
Victims increasing, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute?  As we become
numb to the pain
I look to myself for strength and resilience, as we know these times will pass.
Dare to believe that we will survive, more compassionate and closer than ever.

Stewart, Sue, Charlie, Dave, Hannah

Can we use this time to create a better world?
One where care is more than just a badge.
Values and viewpoints as the world turns
into a new light, where the still small voice is heard.
Dream equality.  Respect for all.  Watch,
love and act the dream to life.

Barbara B, Tony, Gill, Stewart, Sue

Can I say this now?
On every side we seem beset with fools,
veiled reassuring smiles dripping with duplicity, dead eyes.
Inside our heads we peer out on to the new blooms of spring,
dazed, confused as to what a post-hibernation world might be.

Gill, Stewart, Sue, Charlie, Dave

Clear blue skies in a world out of joint seem wrong​
or see it differentl­y, how they stretch light over this unco­mmon spring.
Visions of a future less sure than the easy certainties of a time just past
infuse the day with colour, light the dance of bluebells and bright leaves.
Dependent on the will of others, we turn inward.

Tony, Gill, Stewart, Sue, Charlie

Curious these calm sunlit days shot through with threads of fear.
Opportunities all around us,
very closely to look anew at the world in which we live.
In every window rainbows give us strength.
Drum beats vibrate through my feet and out across the fields of tribal applause.

Sue, Charlie, Dave, Eva, Clare

Chorus of birds sign­al life that will re­turn.
Open windows welcome in their song,
Very sweet, very soft melodies.
If I could leave, I wouldn’t,
despite the desire to be gone.

Marion, Barbara B, Tony, Gill, Stewart

Clear empty skies, garages, greenhouses, veg beds, sheds,cupboards. Fridges!
Tired now.
One has time to sit, reflect, reminisce, comtemplate. Look forward!
Vital to think deeply and rise above the fear.
In time we will emerge blinking into the bright sun, our sight restored.
Decontaminated, revitalised to live in a cleaner, changed world.

Clare, Tam, Jeff, Barbara, Viv

Comedy is getting us through;
often helps when you’re feeling blue.
Very funny stories making me giggle.
I look up at the trees and see them change day by day.
Dawn, dusk, day – changes, challenges, nothing quite the same.

Charlie, Dave, Hannah/Eva, Clare, Tam

Colours of the rainbow in the windows
One day at a time, living the now.
Variety – old and new routines, open to change.
Invincible for many but not all
Daring walks and doorstep cheers sustain us now.

Hannah/Eva, Clare, Tam, Jeff, Barbara
Carry on clapping with all your might
obediently adhering to the rules we are given.
Vacant streets and empty shelves confront us.
In the early hours, an owl.  A new day.
Don’t despair. Make your mind fly.

Viv, Marion Barbara H, Tony, Gill

Cautiously we move into the cleansed new world,
our hopes and aspira­tions dulled
virtually but not in­consolably.​
I lie under the apple tree and think.
Visions of something better form against the blue sky.

Barbara, Jeff, Tony, Gill, Stew

Children languish, focus gone
our days lengthen and merge like wax in the sun,
vista of a world you never knew
in all your life, but feared.
Despite this, raindrops on the dark pool sound like laughter.

Jeff, Barbara, Tony, Gill, Sue

China comes to town, we resist playing host
Onward, unwelcome, invading, conquering our land,
Virus invisible and maybe invincible, we’re in its thrall.
In science we trust, comrades.  In trust we move on.
Demands our wisdom will flourish this Spring.

Dave, Viv, Tony, Sue, Gill

Clear, calm streets aid my passage.
Others make way with fear.
Vulnerable they call us now, spent and dispensable.
I refuse to be governed by stupidity and ignorance!
Do, act, dance – demand life!

Tam, Jeff, Barbara, Tony, Gill


Writing in the Time of Covid • Spring 2020

Writing in the Time of Covid • Spring 2020



The POEMS in this SOUNDSCAPE were written during the Covid lockdown as a way of keeping in touch with the members of our group and a way of recording our feelings and thoughts by making poems together. To read the poems, click here

Each acrostic was written by 5 people by members of Wimborne Community Theatre, each line beginning with the letters of the word ‘Covid’.  The focus was ‘in the time of Covid’.  After writing a line each person sent it to the next person, and so on.  Finally, each piece was recorded by the person who wrote the first line.

The soundscape was created by Adrian Newton, using recordings made in his garden (the dawn chorus, Thursday clapping, etc.) for a Silent Cities global project.

Writers are:     Tuppy Hill, Lynn Davy, Adrian Newton, Stewart Bullen, Sue Bullen, Charlie Williams, Dave Arkell, Barbara Brann, Barbara Hart, Hannah/Eva Small, Tam Gilbert, Jeff Hart, Viv Miller , Marion Leatherdale, Tony Horitz, Clare Small, Gill Horitz

Photograph: Gill Horitz


Lockdown Revival of Mrs J by Zoom

Lockdown Revival of Mrs J by Zoom

During lockdown, WCT members have been working collaboratively online.

On Sunday, 24 May, members took part in a commemorative reading of the original production Mrs J Puts Out Her Bunting, devised by Wimborne Community Theatre in 1995 as part of Wimborne’s VE Commemorations, and performed in the Cornmarket, Wimborne.

The reading was dedicated to Chris Dowdle, who sadly died recently after a long illness. Chris had been a supportive member of the group for many years, and performed in the original Mrs J Puts Out Her Bunting.

We gathered together 10 people who were in the original production (some who were then children), who joined more recent members for the reading on Zoom.

We were thrilled to welcome back the following who were in the original production: Jessica Billington, Sammy Boyle, Sharon Muiruri, Adrian and Lynnet Williams,  Julie Gooder

The play, set in 1945, tells of the stoical heroism of an ordinary woman, Mrs J, who represents the quiet spirit of British resolve and determination during that time. The show was developed by Wimborne Community Theatre members from research using poems, speeches, songs and local stories woven together with a Daily Sketch story from May 1945.

Read more: Mrs J Puts Out Her Bunting

Future Plans:  Plans for WCT’s involvement in the re-opening of Priest’s House Museum have been postponed, although we hope to perform at the opening ceremony in the Autumn.  Further information will follow.


Revival Project at Priest's House Museum

Revival Project at Priest's House Museum

Work on the second production for the Priest’s House Museum Revival project to celebrate the reopening of the refurbished museum has now been suspended.

The production, scheduled for the end of July,  will now be delayed until at least the Autumn. However, we are continuing to plan and share creative ideas and will start rehearsals as soon as we can.



Exploring the Rivers

Exploring the Rivers

Work has started on our exciting new project on the rivers of Wimborne and we very much hope to be able to produce an outdoor exploration on this theme in 2021.

As part of the research and development phase about the role and associations of rivers in Wimborne, members visited the flooded River Allen in January, walking from Walford Mill to the town centre on the look out for suitable locations.

On Saturday 8th February (1.30 – 4 pm) we met to consolidate our thoughts on sites and themes and clarify an outline for the river project.

Lockdown has provided some challenges but we have continued to meet on-line and to find ways of continuing the creative process through group writing and artistic responses to our town’s rivers.