Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty about Government restrictions associated with it, it will not be possible to hold a Village Show in January/February 2021. We are advised to "Keep your fingers crossed for 2022!"
One weekend, a few weeks after Christmas, Brimpsfield holds its annual Village Show. On successive Friday and Saturday evenings, some seventy villagers and their guests assemble in the Village hall, appropriately decorated and furnished with tables and chairs, to be greeted with a glass of warming punch. This is followed by a hot supper presented by the "Hostesses, volunteers responsible for all aspects of the meal, under the direction of the Chief Hostess. After supper, at about 9.30, the tables are cleared away and removed, the chairs are rearranged as an auditorium, scenery springs up, and the folks are treated to some two hours of bespoke comedy entertainment put on by the Brimpsfield Players - and all for about £20 a head. The show is essentially "non-profit making" but over the past 40 years it has raised thousands of pounds for local causes. These include the Brimpsfield Church, Birdlip School, Brimpsfield and Birdlip Playgroup, Birdlip After School Club and Birdlip Brownies and Brimpsfield Village Hall. Funds have also been donated to the Great Western Air Ambulance, the Sue Ryder Home and other cancer charities.
The show dates back, almost without interruption, to 1976 when a group of villagers, led by Harold and Frances Masding, decided to hold an event to lift the 'after-Christmas' winter blues. Harold was a well-known director of local amateur dramatic and operatic societies and both he and Frances were accomplished performers too, he a tenor and she soprano.
The first occasion in January 1976, was a party organised on the lines of a good old-fashioned Victorian Christmas Party, with the villagers dressed in contemporary clothing. A supper was provided from the CEGB Canteen in Gloucester, which local ladies, the original Hostesses, stored and reheated and served to about "70 guests". Light entertainment was presented after dinner on Victorian Music Hall lines, which set the formula for the following shows. A typical evening's entertainment consisted of two halves; a revue of sketches and songs followed by a one-act melodrama separated by a short interval.
Harold presented seven shows, ending in 1982 when he retired and moved with Frances to Sidmouth. In 1983 there was no show. The younger members of the village felt the loss, so in 1984 Martin Smith took up the baton and started to write and direct the entertainments. Since 1977 only two years have been missed, 1983 (when Harold Masding left) and 1996 (when Martin Smith was overseas on business). This means that to date, (February 2020), 43 shows have taken place over 45 years.
Nowadays the shows have a different flavour from the originals, although that original and highly successful formula of supper and entertainment has been scrupulously followed. Today's shows follow a theme that is carried through both first and second halves. Sometimes a two-act play is presented instead of the revue/play arrangement. A raffle is held during the interval.
January 2020's production was entitled 'Television'.