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Teign Valley Players

Promoting Performing Arts in the Teign Valley in Devon

About Us

After twenty years of performing, the first incarnation of the Teign Valley Players folded in the summer of 2006, when it became evident that a functioning committee could not be formed. This happened during rehearsals for J. B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls,’ a production taken on by neighbouring Dunsford Amateur Dramatic Society

Plays performed by TVP Mk I included those by playwrights such as Alan Ayckbourn (Round and Round the Garden, Between Mouthfuls), Caryl Churchill (Top Girls), Noel Coward (Fallen Angels, Ways and Means), Michael Palin (The Weekend) and John Mortimer (Knightsbridge).

Some shows were performed in-the-round, some were performed in barns, some were performed with only one rehearsal, and some used cast members’ dogs as actors. Beyond whole-evening plays, the first TVPs also performed ‘short turns evenings’ in Dunsford Village Hall, which included an unscripted soiree of short sketches and musical turns after the Dunsford Show. 

“In every production the entire company put its heart and soul into its work,” said John Brooks in 2020, recalling the first group’s endeavours. “The audiences did not always reach large numbers but there was always quality on the stage.”

In 2014 a 33-year old journalist called Stephen Oryszczuk moved to the village of Christow and began writing a script on his weekly journeys to London. He approached DADs to ask if it might be considered but was told that the scripts for the next three years had already been decided. So he put posters up around the Teign Valley asking if anyone wanted to start a new group which would be open to all, especially those with no acting experience. He booked the Teign Valley Hall to gauge interest, expecting nobody to turn up, but 34 people did so, and TVP Mk II was born. His first play – ‘Walking the Dog’ – was performed the following March.

The group found a director from Exeter who quit after several weeks, two days before auditions. In stepped a local drama teacher who was able to cast and rehearsals soon began. Given that the new group had no money, a local councillor offered a £500 grant for capital expenditure, which was used to offset the cost of hall hire, which allowed the production to take place. It was advertised as no-booking necessary, first come first seated, free to enter with donations welcome. Audience members were asked to ‘pay what you think it was worth’ at the end. Over three nights 400+ people came to see it and donations averaged £6.50 per person.

Stephen wrote a further play (Act-Off) and two musicals, including Killing Elsa, which was performed to music by Adrian Middleton, and Jungle Book, which was performed to music from the swinging 60s. The Company also performed an Agatha Christie play called ‘The Hollow.’ TVP Mk II luminaries have included, but are not limited to: Mike Wharton, David Wood, Simone van Kan, Christine Wick, Ann Methley, Vajramala Smith, Hil Solly, Mike Lee, Tony Cook, Susannah Coombes, Andy Cook, Matt and Frances Farley, Gus Wright, Sylvana Beckett, Rev. Graham Mayer, Lorraine Hart, Michelle Keen, James Marlow, Lucie Hall, Ricarda Canvin, Nathan Bushell, Kathie Treen, Helen Beard, and Jon and Jane Morton. Especially pleasing has been the continued involvement of some ‘original’ TVP-ers, including Toby Wright, Mark Whitehall and John Brooks, and the involvement of children on-stage, including in the musical production of Jungle Book.

By 2020 the Company had given more than £4,000 to charity and reached a membership of about 60, which continues to grow. The original ethos – ‘welcoming all, including those acting fro the first time – continues to inform our efforts to this day. We pride ourselves on having fun yet working hard to put on a cracking show, and consistently high audience numbers suggest we’re succeeding.