Winter Production 2014/15

"Maid in China
The mystery of the Willow Pattern Plate"

Performance dates & ticket availability as of 23rd January

Wednesday 28th January 2015 @ 7.30pm
Dress rehearsal ~ Tickets just £4 each
Limited availabilty and sold on first come first served basis

Thursday 29th January 2015 @ 7.30pm ~ Some left
Friday 30th January 2015 @ 7.30pm ~ Some left
Saturday 31st January 2015 @ 2.30pm ~ Plenty available
Saturday 31st January 2015 @ 7.30pm ~ Some left


Tickets available available NOW!
01822 855336

Ticket Price: £6 (£4 concession for Matinee only)

Download the poster here: ~ (available here)


'Maid in China ~ the Mystery of the Willow Pattern Plate' is based on the following legend

Long ago, a Chinese mandarin had a beautiful daughter named Koong Shi whom he promised in marriage to a wealthy old merchant. But Koong Shi was in love with her father's secretary, a handsome man named Chang. Her father was furious and locked her in her room overlooking the river while he hastened with the wedding preparations. Chang wrote her a note declaring his undying love and floated it down the river in a coconut shell. She sent back a note urging him to take her away.

Chang waited until the eve of the wedding and in the confusion, carried her away together with her jewel box. The father gave chase and hence the traditional three figures on the bridge, Koong Shi carrying her staff, Chang with the jewel box and the father with a whip. They took refuge in the house by the river but in savage temper the father burnt it down. But, just in time, kindly gods transformed the lovers into a pair of turtle doves so they could fly around the river for ever. That's the legend.

The truth behind the legend?

In the eighteenth- century England there was a young man named Thomas Turner. Against his doctor father's wishes he apprenticed himself as a potter to a famous factory in Worcester. When he had served his time he set out as a journeyman potter and landed in Shropshire with an old potter named Gallimore. He married Gallimore's daughter and the took over the pottery. He introduced fine porcelain to the business and following a visit to Paris he returned with some Chinese motifs which he introduced onto his pottery. Thus an early version of the willow pattern was created.

One of his designers was Thomas Minton, who, when he left to start his own successful business, developed the patterns from the original copper plates. He sold the designs to a variety of factories who each adapted the motifs, including the bridge, the figures, the pagoda, the trees and the apples to their own taste. So, there is no standard pattern. The willow pattern is an English creation! And that's the true story.

Below: Some of the cast at rehearsals around the piano.




The Village Hall seats 99 in total ~ Audience is 90 (9 rows of 10 seats)

Evening performances start at 7.30pm prompt (doors open 7pm)
There is a bar available for the evening performances
Langage ice creams will also be available at most performances


Drama Group Productions: How are they staged?

The Drama Group try to stage two productions a year. A play in the Spring and a Pantomime or Comedy in the Autumn.

What's involved? The 2011 Spring production (Driven to Murder) began with the planning stage at the end of 2010, (what play, when etc). The Cast was selected in January and rehearsals began at once, During February, rehearsals took place twice a week, (for two to three hours) and, because of a late cast change for this production, three nights a week later in the month and throughout March.

The stage in the Hall is a 'kit' stage and was put up on the evening of Friday 1st April and the set construction followed immediately on from this (working all day Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd) and at various times over the following days.

The cast got their first opportunity to rehearse the entire play, on stage, using the set with all its props, on Wednesday (6th). Rehearsals also took place on stage all day on Sunday 10th April during which the lighting and sound effects were worked in.

The full dress rehearsal took place on the 14th April.

After the last performance on the 16th, there was a cast party, and the following Sunday morning, the set and stage were dismantled completely and packed away until the Autumn.

Add to this: Set design; costume creation; production of the poster for the play; creating all the tickets (all 90 tickets for each night have to be individually cut up!); selling the tickets; publicity; creating (and printing) the programme and you can see that a huge amount of work goes into each production.

So....if you buy a ticket, please turn up! We would hate all this work to finish with us playing to an empty Hall!!!

And yes, we do ask oursleves why we do it!

Buckland Monachorum Drama Group previous productions:

Spring 2014 "Natural Causes"
Autumn 2013 "Rampaging Rats and a Heinous Hound"
Spring 2013 (no production)
Autumn 2012: The Dancing Princesses
pring 2012: A Public Mischief
Autumn 2011: The Snow Queen
Spring 2011: Driven to Murder
Autumn 2010: Goody Two Shoes
Spring 2010: Ghosts at the Grange
Autumn 2009: Queen of Hearts
Spring 2009: Wanted! One Body
Autumn 2008: The Emperor's New Clothes
Spring 2008: No production
Autumn 2007: Robin Hood & the Black Knight
Spring 2007: Two Funerals and a Comedy
Autumn 2006: Humpty Dumpty
Spring 2006: Murder by Natural Causes
Spring 2005: Beware the Hungry Stranger