Olympic spirit

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A PLAY about a Shropshire town’s role in inspiring the modern Olympics is being staged at two village halls.

Organised by Spot On Rural Touring, the show by Vamos Theatre, ‘Much Ado About Wenlock’ is visiting the Memorial Hall, Hurst Green, on Thursday December 15, and then Bleasdale Parish Hall the next night, Friday, December 16.

Inspired by the true story of Much Wenlock’s ‘Olympian Games’ in 1850, the plays tells of an event that was to be an essential inspiration for the Olympics that began 46 years later.

Behind this seemingly mild-mannered event, where athletics and country sports combined with wheelbarrow races and a competition for a bag of tea (the ‘old-ladies’ race), lay a struggle for equality and the right to health and wellbeing, set during the changing world of the Industrial Revolution.

The play centres around the characters from the local community as they train for, and compete in, this amazing annual event: the butcher’s wife practises her hammer throws with un-plucked pheasants; the postman uses his letters and parcels to perfect his discus; the local school children (under the training of the strict school mistress) will do their very best! The whole Victorian household is going for gold.

With London 2012 approaching, Vamos Theatre explores the Olympic Games’ unlikely UK roots, creating a dynamic, accessible, multi-disciplinary theatre production that engages and appeals to audiences from a wide range of ages and backgrounds.

A full mask show, with original music, a combination of physicality, theatricality and dance choreography, Much Ado About Wenlock, will be rooted in historical research: the political and personal forming the basis of a creative and hugely inventive adventure.

The production is not suitable for children aged under 8 years.

Tickets are avilable from the local promoters, Kath Molyneaux on 01254 826898 for the Hurst Green performance, and Robert Gardner on 01995 61343 for the Bleasdale performance.