© 2016 by Michael Merry

The Great Fire

all photos courtesy of Ron King

It was Wednesday, 14th September. A few members were making their way to the village hall for the evening’s variety show rehearsal. Unfortunately roads were blocked as fire crews were dealing with a huge blaze engulfing 3 large barns on Home Farm.

WE quickly discovered that one of the barns was indeed our storage location. The barn, very kindly loaned by the Buxtons, contained over 30 years of belongings.

 

Eight fire crews battled through the night to bring the flames under control and prevent the fire spreading to the farmhouse.

 

By morning all that remained was the shell of the building with some twisted metal shelving, a warped clothes rail and a single metal chair (those damn metal chairs, unbreakable they are!).

 

Destroyed in the fire was a 30 year collection of over 700 costumes, 40+ stage flats, a huge variety of props and a vast store of furniture, rostra and yes some junk!

The mountain now facing us is huge! First task, list everything in the barn for insurance purposes! Is that really possible? We were lucky as some lists already existed. Then put a replacement value to everything! What is the replacement cost of 6 Edwardian dresses? A few dozen dame outfits? Hundreds of chorus costumes? An entire casts worth of passion play outfits?

Insurance list sent, we wait with all our fingers and toes crossed!

Now the attention of the group is turning to the pantomime! All costumes need to be made, Shirley (recently retired) is based 100 miles away!

New flats need to be built, new furniture acquired and we’ve lost our props resource!

 

When we do recover, where will we store it? These are all challenges now facing us.

Wareside Entertainers started with nothing in 1978, we can rebuild!

Wareside Entertainers have been so touched with many offers of help and support.

 

Our Christmas pantomime, Puss in Boots, WILL go ahead.

To make a donation please visit Just Giving.