Celebrating Village Halls Week in Dunchurch


Rebecca Palmer


The Heart of the Community

Village halls are more than just a building. They are the heart of the community, where people come together to celebrate, connect, and create lasting memories. We witnessed a happy sense of community as guests at Dunchurch Sportsfield & Village Hall during the celebration of Village Halls Week.

A Show by the Dunchurch Pantomaniacs

Dunchurch Pantomaniacs is the local theatre group that has entertained the community for over 30 years. So long has it served its community that three generations of a single family have performed for the group.

Picture of a man sat at a table facing camera smilingMeet the Director

We had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Le Poidevin, the Director of the Dunchurch Pantomaniacs, for almost 20 years. He is also Treasurer of the village hall management committee. Paul explained how the hall provides a platform for the Pantomaniacs to perform year-round. This opportunity has undoubtedly helped many younger members pursue careers in acting.

Colourful front page of the panto programmeA Huge Success

Pie Rates of Penzance was the first pantomime since the Covid-19 pandemic. It was an emotional experience for the 60 cast and crew members who finally had the chance to perform. The eight-night run was a huge success, with over 700 attendees.

The comically named main characters, such as the distracted Dr Heimlich Manoeuvre and put-upon Chef Ken Wood had everyone laughing with their comedic performances and original jokes. But it was the unique upbeat chorus numbers singing about the three-year hiatus and joy at their return that got the audience clapping and singing along.

The only thing to dampen the audience’s mood was the appearance of the evil scheming Sea Witch, Baggy Wrinkle. She always exited to a series of boos and hisses in her stellar performance of the baddie we love to loathe. We mustn’t forget to mention Sue Protheroe, the author of her fifth play for Pantomaniacs. Sue, a talented individual, is also side-splitting in her role as PC Bubble on a mission to stop trouble.

A Hub in the Community

Picture of a noticeboard containing local eventsDunchurch Sportsfield and Village Hall is an oasis in the community. The facility is used for various functions with appeal across the generations, from the famous bridge club and village art group to the Rainbows or youth club; there is something for everyone. Want to focus on your health? You can try dance, football, badminton, yoga, or tai chi. The hiring board is full of events across its four rooms. And when the hall is not in use for the community to connect, it plays a vital role in hosting meetings and acting as a local polling station. To ensure the hall remains relevant and desirable to hirers and users alike, the management committee plans to install a noise limiter and extend the annexe to accommodate more people.

A team of three staff, nine trustees, and a bunch of dedicated volunteers ensure the hall is ready to go. As you can imagine, there is always room for more volunteers to join the team. So if that speaks to you, please contact the friendly people at the hall on 01788  522444.

Village halls play a vital role in bringing communities together. They offer warm, welcoming and inclusive spaces where people can connect. Dunchurch Sportsfield & Village Hall represents the heart of the community, and we look forward to visiting again.

Our thanks go to Paul Le Poidevin for his warm hospitality and the insights he provided into the show and venue.