Fovant Arts and Musical Entertainers

Much better known as F.A.M.E., this group was launched at the instigation of Barbara McCoy with the help of interested villagers and evolved out of a tradition of putting on entertainment for the older members of the community during the winter. From the beginning, the group planned to put on regular performances and, as a result, the company ran for nearly a decade and presented the following shows:




1988. . . .

Music and Song

Barbara McCoy

1988. . . .

The Magic Carpet

Joan Brooks

1989. . . .

All on a Summer’s Day

Margaret Elwin

1991. . . .

A Little Bit of This and That

– do –

1992. . . .

It’s Foolish but it’s Fun

– do –

1993. . . .

Money Makes the World Go Round

– do –

1994. . . .

That’s Entertainment

– do –

1995. . . .

Bits and Pieces

– do –

1996. . . .

Music Hall

Joan Brooks

1997. . . .

Music Hall

– do –

The producers would start thinking about a theme for the next show in late summer, then put together the linkages and obtain the music. Weekly rehearsals would start in October, and although the first two shows were put on in December, it was felt that this put too much pressure on members with their other family commitments at this time of year. So the subsequent shows took place in January, which helped provide much-needed entertainment to banish the post-Christmas blues.

The productions were limited by the size of the stage in the Village Hall, there being only one entrance. In fact, the space was so limited that the producer had to act as curtain opener and prompter as well. However, these difficulties were nobly overcome by John Turner, who made the portable staging which helped to enlarge the Village Hall for other activities, as well as the scenery which the cast were required to help assemble. F.A.M.E. also improved the stage lighting, as well as adding new drapes and stage curtains.

The society was greatly helped by Alice Jay who supplied the musical accompaniment for most productions, with the wonderful ability to immediately transpose pieces of music into a higher or lower key as required by the singers when asked. Thelma Blakeman assisted when Alice Jay was not available, or tapes were used. Initially the group consisted mainly of enthusiastic and experienced amateurs, but the arrival of RADA-trained Margaret Elwin and professional dancer Jenny Berwyn-Jones introduced skills that raised the standard of both individual and team performances.

Everyone involved was willing to help in any way, including a resident from Sling Orchard whose freezer was used to store the interval ice creams, and the occupants of Oakhanger Barn opposite, whose garage would be used to store all items from the back areas of the Village Hall during performances, space which was needed for changing rooms. In this cramped area, performers changed into their costumes, including wigs and coronets, the notable handmade contribution of Christine Thompson, assisted by Elsie Thick and other members, who obtained an amazing variety of costumes from many sources.

The society ran drama workshops and set up play reading groups as well as organising theatre outings and performing in other villages. The final show took place in Shaftesbury Arts Centre with two performances in aid of charity. The popularity of the shows meant demand always outnumbered available tickets, even with two evening performances and one matinee.

Reluctantly, F.A.M.E. ceased its activities after several members left the area and its younger members moved away to pursue their careers.