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The Great Fire

all photos courtesy of Ron King

It was Wednesday, 14th September 2016. 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 darn metal chairs, they really are unbreakable!)

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 was huge! First task, list everything in the barn for insurance purposes. Was 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 cast's worth of passion play outfits?

Insurance list sent, we waited with all our fingers and toes crossed.

Now the attention of the group turned to the pantomime. All costumes needed to be remade and our previous costume mistress Shirley (recently retired) was based 100 miles away. New flats needed to be built, new furniture acquired and we lost our props resource.

When we did recover, where would we store it? These were all challenges now facing us.

Wareside Entertainers started with nothing in 1978, we were sure we could rebuild.

We were so touched with many offers of help and support we received, including donations to our Just Giving page.

 

Our Christmas pantomime, Puss in Boots, DID go ahead and proves just how resourceful we are.

The Just Giving page is now long closed but your support in coming to see our shows is always appreciated. Thank you to all our fans, old and new!

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