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The Vicar of Dibley

Although only running for two series and ten specials, the TV series The Vicar of Dibley has been warmly taken to the nation’s heart and sunk into our folk memories. We only have to hear the stuttered, “NO, no, no, no….Yes” and we are immediately taken back to those happy family evenings around the television, when we laughed uproariously at the way Jim Trott’s hesitations caused David Horton such irritation as he tried to chair the Dibley Parish Council.
Part of the series’ appeal was based on its topical nature. In the Spring of 1994, the Church of England ordained the first 32 women priests in its history. In the autumn of the same year, Geraldine Granger stepped onto our screens to face the prejudices and rural traditions of the fictional parish of Dibley in Oxfordshire. With its diverse range of characters, cleverly written jokes and sometimes earthy humour, The Vicar of Dibley played out on our screens some of the issues of sexism which were actually happening in parishes around the country.
The idea that the Wychwood Players might have the opportunity to perform such a popular tale was too much to resist, and as soon as the idea was mooted we immediately started negotiations. It is easy to imagine the delight and pride felt by the Players when several weeks later they received permission to perform the stage adaptation of the iconic TV series. After an hilarious evening reading the script, when members of the committee were reduced to giggling wrecks, auditions were arranged and everybody wanted to be involved in this production. Never before have we had so many people auditioning for parts or volunteering to help backstage.
One visitor to the rehearsals who sat laughing through the whole evening, turned afterwards to the director and remarked, “Excellent casting”. Being a typical director, the compliment was gratefully received, because few scraps of praise come the way of any director! But, really he was forced to admit it was the technical and acting skills of the cast that made the characters seem so true to the original TV portrayals. Together with the efforts of many people backstage, this is a team production, and together we want to make it our homage to the rich and warm memories we all have of those family evenings round the telly.

The Vicar Of Dibley
A stage play by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter. Adapted from the original TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. With kind permission of Tiger Aspect Productions 27th, 28th and 29th April 2017, 7.30 p.m., Beaconsfield Hall, Shipton-under-Wychwood.
Tickets £10 (Performance Royalties to Comic Relief).
BOX OFFICE 07817 426 305 (Opens 3rd April).

April – May 2017