Much Ado About Much Wenlock
Post from Lee Collins, Theatr Brycheiniog
In this Olympic year, Vamos Theatre visit Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon on Thursday 19 April with their current production Much Ado About Wenlock.
Few outside of Much Wenlock, the small Shropshire town on the Welsh borders, know that it is the true home and inspiration of the modern Olympic Games.
In July every year, Much Wenlock quietly celebrates its own games in honour of the town’s physician, Dr William Penny Brookes, a utopian figure who, in 1850, gloriously devised the idea that the working people of the town could be liberated from their labours and ill health through athleticism and other more curious forms of physical activity.
This annual amateur event in Much Wenlock became the basis of his National Olympic Association, which would itself become the inspiration of the Frenchman Baron Pierre Fredy de Coubertin, the man most often credited with rekindling the Olympic torch in Athens in 1896.
A complicated enough story to tell with words and behind masks but Vamos is telling the whole delightfully dotty story without words, written and directed by the company’s artistic director Rachael Savage.
‘Dr Brookes’ first games in 1850 did, of course, feature Olympic athletics,’ said Paula Redway, Theatr Brycheiniog’s director, ‘but they also included traditional English country sports and rather more bizarre events such as the butcher’s son practising his hammer throws with un-plucked pheasants and the school mistress perfecting her knitting!’
‘This play will really bring to life all those characters and idiosyncrasies of Victorian Britain.’
Vamos Theatre’s production of Much Ado About Wenlock is at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon on Thursday 19 April at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £12.00 (£10.00 concs) and are available from the theatre’s box office on 01874 611622 or online at http://www.theatrbrycheiniog.co.uk.