Live and Local – Friday March 31st 2023

Ashley Hutchings, with Becky Mills and Blair Dunlop

St Michaels Village Hall was fully booked for this much anticipated Live and Local production, with Ashley Hutchings, one of the best-known performers on the British folk music scene. On this occasion, he was accompanied by Becky Mills, a fine singer songwriter in her own right, and also by Ashley’s very talented son, Blair Dunlop.

The first half of the evening started with a song each, by Blair and Becky, showcasing not only their own writing and performance skills, but also just how varied and entertaining “folk music” can be. The rest of the first half consisted of excerpts from Ashley Hutching’s double album of prose and music “Paradise and Thorns”. As you may guess from the title, the songs and words were written to display the many forms which love can take – the joys, heartaches, the anticipation and excitement, and sadly, sometimes the pain of lost love. Ashley told the audience that much of this album was written directly from his own experiences. This probably explained why his song lyrics about early sixties dance floors brought back so many memories to the audience!

The second half contained more great music, some individually from Blair and Becky and also from the three combining to entertain with a wide range of styles. Ashley has played with Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the Albion Band and we were treated to an evening of high-quality folk music and thought provoking and entertaining prose.

It is a tribute to the Live and Local organisers, that this format so often manages to attract top quality performers in so many varied forms – music, theatre, comedy etc. Once again, here in St Michaels we were treated in our own back yard to an evening of first-rate entertainment.

Sea Shanty night!

What a good job it was that we ordered that extra key of Hobsons! With all those thirsty Sea Shanty Men and over 70 audience guests there was a very busy atmosphere.

By the first half of entertaining is the atmosphere was exhilarating – we had been cheered up no end. the Sea Shanty Men really warmed the cockles of our hearts! Were entertained with a number of songs appertaining to the sea, sailors lives, adventures and deaths! All very amusing and a lot of audience participation! The faces on the audience said it all, lovely glowing faces, laughing most of the time.

Mike Jenner gave a great tribute to Stuart, telling us about his forthcoming voyage around the U.K. this year and his plan to raise funds towards pancreatic cancer research.

I hope you will agree this event was a successful evening of relaxation and good fun! We thank the Sea Shanty Men for their time and entertainment and of course yourselves for coming along. The profits are helping tremendously with our refurbishment funds – THANK YOU.

This was a tonic welcomed by everyone this February 2020, possibly a prescription needed for many during the relevant miseries we are enduring at the present.

We look forward to many future events this year, please keep and eye on the website and noticeboards!

Thank you for your support!!

Ros (Chair, Village Hall)

Burns Night!

What a wonderful night this was, to warm a cold January night up, enjoy a traditional Scottish meal, watch or take part in excellent Scottish dancing and feel the glow of the warm busy atmosphere and the whisky galore!

The day began early with much hard work from the group who prepared the room and cooked the meal. Thankyou to Jane, Pat Cherry, Pam, Chris, Elaine, Carolyn and Ros. Eddie, Paul, Rod, Geoff, Robin were excellent shiftas.

Mark Raybould was an excellent Master of Ceremonies, lovely kilt. Annie was most impressive on the bagpipes and Ganin most enthusiastic on addressing the haggis, complete with authentic accent. Thank you to you all, not forgetting a special address to the ladies again from Ken and excellent display from the Scottish dancers.

A most enjoyable evening, well planned, well supported by you all and another well remembered evening together.

Well done!

Review: Variety night 19th October 2019

The variety evening was full of surprises! in fact “the best entertainment in St. Michaels for a long while” was said several times. “By far the best evening we have had in years”

Friends, neighbours, supporters of acts and new and old interested guests came along and proved a most appreciative audience. It was great to see smiling faces and to feel a very warm happy atmosphere in the room.

Our very own Shed men started us off and made us smile! You want to know what mature gents do in a shed? Well catch up sometime and listen to the singing and playing of the tunes we enjoy from the 50’s and 60’s.

Graham Archer played and sang some fabulous tunes, accompanied by his ukulele. He got us singing along. Such a talented performer, a great surprise. Everyone enjoyed his performance and such amusing songs! The five girls from the college (Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Hungary and Mongolia) were brace and talented! A joy to listen to accompanied by ukulele and guitar. It was a pleasure to welcome them and their supports!

Grace and Gelan (autistry) sang to us, each song stole the show! Grace sings like and angel and the lyrics are a joy to listen to. The audience were spellbound.

After the interval Alan Hooper entertained us with his comic stories, very droll, yes subtle, clever and amusing!

The Rotundas were quite amazing, great lyrics to superb music, unusual stories of Birmingham canals and canal life and others. They were dressed for the part and set a great atmosphere.

Angela shared her wonderful ode, she had written to her 80 year old Dad, which was unusual and great to hear, followed by Ros who read two poems from Spike Milligan and Pam Ayres.

Last but not least we were entertained by John Mosedale who was incredibly entertaining and funny with his wide repertoire!

Thanks always go to Peter, Eddie and Stuart for setting up the room and staging, a special thank you to Brian Addys for setting up the sound system, certainly a hard days work, much appreciated.

Our best Variety night so far!
Make sure you get your tickets for next year!

Macmillan Coffee Morning

An excellent McMillan Cancer Coffee morning was held on 20th September 2019 at the Village Hall. Thanks go to Pam and Rod Owens and Cherry and Robin Moore for organising the coffee morning. A brilliant amount of £380 was raised.

Thanks go to everyone who supported this event which helps give support, financial help and emotional help to cancer patients.

Thank you to all.

Ros Plested

Review: Open Gardens

The village hall committee would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who made the Open Gardens event, over 2 days, a brilliant success and a very enjoyable and memorable occasion.

So many people worked hard to created beautiful gardens, plants to sell, books, honey, garden tools, pots, art work, crafts tombola and delicious teas. Of course many helped to advertise, move chairs and tables, prepare scones and cakes, put up bunting and balloons, direct traffic and help car parking.

Our weekend produced a handsome profit of £2,500 which is a huge help towards our needs for the refurbishment and extension of the village hall.

Thanks you so much

Ros Plested

Review: St Michaels Village Open Gardens

An alternative to the Village Fete? This was the subject of a village hall committee meeting many months ago. Quite a departure but recent attendances to the annual fete had been declining, not helped by
inclement weather and the fact that fetes involve a lot of work!
An additional factor was the need to raise money to fund the proposed improvements to the Village Hall. These are extensive involving the entrance area and toilets for which planning approval has been obtained.

A separate committee was formed as considerable planning was needed for what was something never attempted before. The main consideration was what to do as St Michaels covers quite a large area.

The result took everyone by surprise and its success silenced the doubters.
Quoting the gardens to visit says it all. Woodland Garden, Rose Garden, the Rectory Garden, Work in Progress, Silver Tree & Pond, The Beekeeper’s Garden, Mayor’s Place, Children’s Garden, The Potting Shed, The Bookseller’s Garden, Cottage Garden & Golf and last but not least The Plantsman’s Garden. It was possible to spend an hour looking round the Plantsman’s Garden alone! In fact, many people paid visits on both days!

Obviously the starting point was the village hall where, in addition to buying a ticket, there was a variety of yummy cakes, cream teas, coffee and Pimms drink available. Additionally, there were arts and craft stalls, tombla and a display by Tenbury Floral Arts. The cooling Pimms drink proved very desirable on the Saturday, the hottest day of the year!

Many gardens offered additional attractions including a putting competition, croquet and slides and trampolining for the children. Others helped to raise funds including the sale of plants, second hand garden tools and equipment, honey and garden books.

The Woodland Garden was the furthest to reach along a bridlepath through beautiful countryside which involved a 10 minute walk. Well worth the walk however with its magnificent trees and the Cadmore brook running through it. An art exhibition by the St. Michaels Art Group was a bonus together with the generosity of the owner, running tired and overheated visitors back to the village hall in his car.

The fine weather was a help but the event attracted many who had not visited St Michaels before, some from as far away as Cornwall! Despite setting a special car parking area aside it became necessary to park along the roadside too, due to the huge attendance. The atmosphere and friendliness of everyone attending the event, be they villagers or visitors, was something to note. Is it something to do with gardens, gardeners and St Michaels? A substantial amount of money was raised!

The jury is out now…….…..after this huge success should the event be repeated next year?

Tony Penn

Reynard the Fox – Review

Well, what a surprise to welcome the wonderful Fabularium company with their fantastic story and presentation of Reynard the Fox.

The company arrived at 1pm and set up some wonderful scenery which filled a large rent a van, the headdresses were brushed and combed and musical instruments tuned!

This was our first try at entertaining the family from a theatre company, quite an adventure in itself and an experiment in our village hall.

At 4:30pm I couldn’t have told you whether or not we would have an audience or not but in the following 15 mins a lovely trickle of families entered the village hall and filled the seating in no time, a little like rent a crowd as 43 stated to watch a lovely story of the Rascal Reynard the fox, the lovable rogue of the forest.

The story telling style blended with puppetry, live music and song together with wonderful masks and many characters made for a lovely family show. Thank you to Fabularium and to you the audience for supporting.



On Saturday 4th May our ever friendly and helpful West Mercia Police officers Teresa Howells-Brown and Vanessa Snape came along to the village hall to offer their advice and information to further secure our properties, bikes, computers, garden tools and strimmers were bought along for security marking and a lot of advice given out.

We thank Teresa and Vanessa for their time and efforts on the 4th and the many signs and leaflets they bought along. If anyone does have a large item they particularly want marking for security reasons please contact the Tenbury and Martley safer Neighbourhood team 101 or leave a message 01905 725780 or 07814 040307.

Thank you,

Live and Local – ‘It Is Now’ Review

‘It Is Now’, Shindig play by Anonymous is a woman company.

We welcomed the company “Anonymous is a woman” on Thursday 28th march to set up, rig lightening and press costumes, create a wedding reception setting and tuck into a St. Michaels tea before performing a thoroughly enjoyable and professional programme of “It is now”.

The enthusiasm and talent of the young cast combined with the audience involvement as wedding guests on the day of the 1966 World cup proved in all to be a very enjoyable evening. It is now was an excellent entertaining evening all round! Well done! (Sandra Pagett)

The wedding reception is held on 30th July 1966 which is etched on our memories of that world cup so very much. Alas for the wedding party this helps to cause chaos but the audience all 56 of us were totally mesmerised and taken aback to the 60,s with the music and involvement as wedding guests and interactive characters. The play was delivered by 4 excellent actors and actresses, delightful in their own right and exceptionally clever at their craft.

For those of us who can remember, a number of issues around the 60’s were mentioned and subtly slipped in it certainly took us back and made us think and most of all LAUGH.

LIVE and Local — sponsored by local councils and Arts councils.

I don’t know how much people are aware, but Live and Local (shindig) company are exactly as they say -LIVE- theatre,music,puppetry, dance, groups, individuals and -LOCAL— to our county, being Worcestershire. They provide theatre for counties in the midlands.

At the beginning of the season we are invited to have a taster of the years programme in one of the village halls in Worcestershire., returning with the responsible job of choosing a topic that we hope will go down well with everyone.Then after form filling and phone calls we bid for a 1st,2nd and 3rd choice hopefully getting a successful choice which will be popular and draw an audience in.

After dates, times are sorted with the individual company we start promoting with posters everywhere, selling tickets, then arrange arrival which is usually 3 to 5 hours before the performance, help sort the staging, lighting and props, look after the cast and their needs, feed and water them and wait for you all to experience a good theatre in the sticks! After which the clearing away and finalising paper work concludes.These excellent groups of people work so hard- they are the masters of their craft and an honour for us to experience as you have done. Thank you.

“It is now” captured our attention in our own surroundings, “Reynard the Fox” (a first experiment of family performance theatre) will be received well we hope. Unfortunately we don’t make a lot of money on these performances as we agree a figure before the shows and very little profit is made. But they are delightful to welcome and so good to offer a variety to our events calendar in the village hall.