Music, drama and a slice of history in Redbourn

PUBLISHED: 16:58 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:13 20 February 2013

Redbourn Players

Redbourn Players

Redbourn, a former Hertfordshire village of the year winner, holds its own in the world of entertainment and recreation. Damion Roberts takes a closer look and discovers some of the flourishing groups at the heart of the village

June Farmer
Play director, Redbourn Players

'The Redbourn Players are an amateur group who put on two plays a year, often one in the spring and another before Christmas.
'We do lots of other things - theatre visits, garden parties - but we are at heart a performance group and very much enjoy putting on plays, which residents of Redbourn tend to really enjoy.
'We were fortunate enough to be given the studio in which we practise 40 years ago as it is the same size as the village hall where we perform.
'The group's first play was back in 1966 and it was called The Secret Tent, but it wasn't that great. We've been getting better with practice!
'We have about 30 members who work on a variety of things from acting to set designs and I myself direct.
'Our last production, See How We Run, was our best yet, and my husband John is currently writing a version of Treasure Island which we hope to perform later this year.
'As usual we are looking to get as much support as we can from local residents, and they are usually fantastic. Redbourn is a great place to live, where people get on very well with each other and we can't wait to get on that stage again.'

Peter Cridland
Secretary, Redbourn Cricket Club

'It is mentioned in various documents that cricket was first played in the village in around 1666, but we've not been able to historically verify this.
'If it is the case, it means cricket was played here earlier than most other places in the country.
'As for our club, it was formed in 1823 which makes it one of the oldest continuous clubs. We play on the common in Redbourn and we have around 60 playing members plus around 150-odd junior players from the village and wider afield.
'The club's pavilion was burnt down late last year and while we waited for the insurance to be sorted out the people in the village all dipped into their pockets to help us build a new pavilion just in time for the commencement of the new cricket season this year.
'It was a fantastic achievement where 75,000 was raised for the club from all the members, parents, residents, life-members. It was remarkable and we're so proud of the village pulling together.
'It just goes to show the place the cricket club has in the village, but also the kindness of the villagers who have gone out of their way to help us.'

Janet Strapp
Manager, Redbourn Folk Club

'Our club is a weekly one which proves quite popular with local musicians and music lovers.
'All throughout the year we have a very mixed bag of entertainers who come here, from up-and-coming musicians to established stars from around the country.
'We run from 8.30pm until 11.15pm on Thursday nights in the Old School Room in the back of the Hollybush Club, although previously it has been based at The Engineer in Harpenden and The Cricketers. It's a great location with good beer accompanying the good music.
'I run the club myself and have done for a few years now. I've been involved since 1988 when it was founded by Linda Fryd and we book all sorts of performers.
'We also have things like guitar workshops where people can come in and get taught how to play guitar, and we have the occasional folk and blues day out on Redbourn Common where we are able to take the music out there to the village and show them what we're about.
'We love doing this, and so does the village.'

Pauline Ridgwell
Minutes secretary, Redbourn Museum

'The museum's items are all of local interest from Redbourn and the surrounding areas. 'There was a lady called Ann Skillman who collected items and with nowhere to house them they were ultimately shown in the village hall.
'When the local Silk Mill House, a Grade II listed building, became available for use the collections were moved there to become the museum which was opened in May 2000.
'There is one room of exhibits to do with occupations such as references to the former Brook Bond packaging factory, a blacksmith's forge, an agricultural occupations room and carpentry.
'Downstairs is the Priory Room and upstairs is the Ann Skillman gallery.
'The museum itself has a steady influx of visitors and it's managed by trustees, of which my husband John is one, for the use of the village and we're really proud of it.
'Lots of work has gone into the museum and you can tell that visitors appreciate that and we hope to be able to continue this long into the future.'

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