We Happy Few
Following the Hollywood fantasy of Wizard of Oz, Cradley Village Players return to the real world over May half-term with a play set in 1940’s Britain that had its first performance in Malvern. We Happy Few tells the touching and often hilarious story of an all-female theatre company who brought drama to a culture-starved nation during the darkest days of WW2.
Written by actress Imogen Stubbs, the story was inspired by the real-life Osiris Players, founded in 1927 by indomitable director Nancy Hewins. The war was Hewins’s ‘finest hour’ as Osiris staged over 1,500 performances of 33 plays - half by Shakespeare - in schools and village halls up and down the country. To save money, there were never more than seven ‘girls’ so everyone acted, built scenery, cooked and changed the tyres of the company’s vintage Rolls-Royce. But their work inspired many - not least Judi Dench - to take up the profession.
We Happy Few is an uplifting tale of adversity overcome with wit, determination and a passion for theatre as a group of mismatched individuals from entirely different backgrounds embark on a crazy adventure, learn what life is like without men and survive when they have only each other.
The first draft of We Happy Few appeared in Malvern Theatres exactly fifteen years ago in 2003 and a revised version was later directed in the West End by Stubbs’ then husband Trevor Nunn. The Times said there wasn’t ‘a sweeter, warmer, more likeable play in London’ while the Daily Express called this ‘far and away the funniest - and saddest - backstage play for half a century’.
Directed by Mary Fielding - who created The Shakespeare Show which CVP staged in 2016 to mark the Bard’s 400th birthday.
As rehearsals continue for Cradley Village Players’ version of We Happy Few by Imogen Stubbs, we’ve given our cast and crew a little more time to get a complex show absolutely right by delaying the production for a few months.
Instead of doing it during Summer half-term as originally planned, we’re now going to mount the play over the corresponding period in the Autumn term with performances from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd November 2018.
This is a challenging piece dramatically and technically, using sound and lighting effects to indicate shifts in time and place and making innovative use of the space offered by Cradley School’s well-equipped hall.
Tickets will be available at Cradley Butchery, online from our website, or on the door.