Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club

Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club was founded in 1982 and since then has performed annual Variety shows, highly popular pantomimes and Murder Mysteries Dinner evenings. We also run some drama, mime and improvisation workshops too. We’ll also get together for social events – barbecues and dinners. We have a core group of charismatic members ranging in age from 8 to 84 and are always looking for new members to join us, whether it is to act, sing, dance, sew costumes, stage-manage, work on lighting and sound, paint scenery, design posters and programmes, cook for our Murder Mystery Dinner evenings, make tea………. In fact there’s something for everyone and plenty of fun too! Do come and join us!

Activity Address   Village Hall, Hadlow Down
Contact                       Claire Rivers
E-mail                           claire.rivers61@gmail.com
Telephone                  07506889724

Hadlow Down Drama and Variety Club Programme

Hadlow Down Drama and Variety Club Programme
17thJuly- An evening led by a professional Storyteller, who will model how to tell oral stories and then give us an opportunity to work in groups on our own. (7.30pm at Hadlow Down Village Hall)
August- Holiday break
18thSeptember- We are now members of NODA (National Opera and Drama Association) and we will be enjoying an evening of play reading together using their free scripts (7.30pm at Hadlow Down Village Hall)
16thOctober- A fun evening with wine and a drama quiz- be prepared to have a giggle (7.30pm at Hadlow Down Village Hall)
9thNovember- A trip to the Assembly Halls to see Sing-a-long-a- Gareth Malone 2 – £27 reduced group rate (contact Ellis on ellis.boswell@btinternet.com to book a ticket)
11thDecember- A Get Together for a Christmas meal at The Hare and Hounds, Framfield

Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club Meeting

From the chair of HDD&VC:
I am delighted to be able to give you more exciting information about our next HDD&VC meeting on the 15th. May, which is at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
We will be showing the wonderful film ‘The History Boys’ (rated 18). The History Boys is a 2006 British comedy-drama film adapted by Alan Bennet from his play of the same name  which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play.
A select number of boys, who managed to achieve grades which merit an application to Oxford or Cambridge in their A-Levels, experience a term of revelation at their grammar school as they are tutored for the “most important exam of their lives” in history.
On the evening we will be serving Wine and Cheese for you to enjoy whilst watching the film. There will be one glass of wine for everyone to enjoy, free of charge, and a selection of cheeses to go with it.
We want to make sure we cater for everyone so please let us know if you intend to come by emailing ellis.boswell@btinternet.com or ringing 07506889724. Do feel free to bring friends and family.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in May.
All the best,

HDD&VC AGM Minutes 2023

Minutes of the Hadlow Down Variety Club Annual General Meeting
Monday 13th March 2023 at 7:55pm
at Hadlow Down Village Hall
Present: Ann Zenka (Chairperson), Julie Twigg (Treasurer and Secretary), Dwayne Zenka (committee), Glenys Lake (committee), Jeannette Boswell (committee), Ellis Boswell (minutes), Bob Lake, Janet Tourell, Wendy Coleman, Claire Rivers, Sandi Houlahan, Joan Wiltshire, Jo Dummer, Brenda Johnson, Kathy Cracknell, Clara Thompson
Apologies: John Thompson, John Rivers, Owen Coleman, Peter Smyth, Roberta Smyth
Chairperson welcomes everyone
Meeting begins 7:55pm
• AGM minutes dated 14th March 2022 are read, accepted and seconded by Bob and Janet.
• Ann gives her report as Chairperson, detailing the work done by the committee over the previous three years, as well as the work from those club members who have gone above and beyond. A warm thanks is given to Jo for always being such a generous host.
• Julie gives her report as Treasurer, showing the entire club a summary of all income and expenses over the previous three years. A warm thanks is given to Julie for her dedication. The report is read, accepted and seconded by Jeannette and Bob.
• The Chairperson’s report, Treasurer’s report and the club constitution is made available to all members to look at during the break.
• Julie reveals that she received a highly critical email from an ex-member of the club, showing the hypocrisy of the lack of involvement.
The Ballots
• Bob asks who will make decisions for the club’s belongings if all the committee members step down.
o The current committee would hold an extra-ordinary meeting to deal with everything before stepping down, should no one else step in, as according to the club’s constitution.
o Claire points out that a new group of people being the committee for the first time wouldn’t know what they were doing.
• The club is made aware that at least four of the present committee members would be intending to stepping down
• Bob brings up the costs of the new village hall and the plans to build a stage in the hopes that there would either be the existing club to use it or a new club following the closure of the current one. He asks about the future of the money currently held in the club’s account, should the club fold.
o The constitution states that money held in the account at time of closing should be donated to projects furthering dramatic arts in and around the community.
• The contents of the village hall belonging to the Variety Club is bought up. Julie and Ann assures everyone that they have been catalogued for insurance purposes, so will be easy enough to deal with should the club fold.
Break for tea and the ballots is held at 8:45pm
• Votes are counted and verified three times, with a miscount due to a misunderstanding between the two separate slips.
• The vote results are announced 9:17pm. 9 votes for keeping the club running, 9 against. Without a clear result for closing, the club stays open.
• 3 people put their names down for committee: Claire, Jeannette, and Ellis.
o Claire stands for Chairperson.
o Julie says that she will approach those that couldn’t make the evening to see if they would like to join the committee.
o Ann, Dwayne, Julie and Glenys express their desire to stay on the committee in interim roles, with Glenys only wanting to stay as long as it will take to ease the transition between the old committee and the new.
o Jo asks what will happen if no one steps forward for either Treasurer or Secretary. Julie assures everyone that she will stay as an interim until a new Treasurer can be found, but is concerned that she will be stuck in the position.
• Claire suggests changing the role of the club to a more social format and dropping future performances.
• Ann recommends that the account be put on hold until the future of the club is clearer.
• Joan gives a speech about her pride in the club, the people that have been lost and sadly missed along the way, and the amount that the club has helped the community over the years. She gives her thanks to the current committee and those that have previously served.
o Janet suggests that the speech (or something similar) could be posted in the Parish Magazine and Facebook to bring awareness to the club.
Meeting is closed at 9:40pm
Claire and the committee stay behind to discuss the next steps
• Claire offers to work on the club’s social media profile to draw more awareness.
• Bob tells the committee that the HDCC will be distributing surveys door-to-door and offers to post flyers for the Variety Club with them, if we wanted to make some up.
Committee leaves at 9:50pm

A New Start For The Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club

We are pleased to let you know that at our recent AGM it was decided to continue with our Society and to see if we can attract new members with some different approaches. In a village community, it is so important to keep opportunities open for people to connect, and this is what the committee is keen to do. If you want more information about HDD&VC do ring me on 07506889724 or email claire.rivers61@gmail.com, new members are always welcome.
We have booked the Village Hall for a monthly meeting at which we will have different activities for members to enjoy. The dates are as follows so please put them in your diaries:
17th April, 2023 7.30pm An evening of mime and improvisation- no experience needed, just a good sense of humour!!
15th May, 2023 7.30pm
19th June, 2023 7.30pm
17th July, 2023 7.30pm
We have left the three latter dates open as we would like to run our ideas past members at the first meeting, but the things we have been considering are: the showing of a play; a session with a storyteller looking at storytelling techniques; theatre/cinema visits; and play readings.
We are also exploring the possibility of joining NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association), which has a number of benefits, including plays, musicals and pantos that members can use, a regional website to link people to local societies and training opportunities.
Another plan, is to record some bedtime stories for children, some of which may be a video, and others audio. We would place these on a site, such as, Youtube, for parents/carers/children to access. We would also open up the opportunity to record a story to non-members of the Society. We know there are members, and potential members, that have a fear of word learning and it would be a fun, and inclusive activity, to record a series of radio style plays/’book at bedtime’ that the village community, and beyond, could access.
Social media is well-used by so many people that we intend to keep our facebook page up-to-date and to make sure we have a presence on the village website as well.
As always, the views of members are so welcome, our philosophy is ‘the more the merrier’, so do please let us know of any ideas you may have and items to include on the website.
We look forward to seeing you on the 17th April at 7.30pm and hope that, meanwhile, you have a Happy and Peaceful Easter.
Kind regards,


The Rude Mechanicals – Gods and Dogs

Gods and Dogs, Hadlow Down Cricket Field, Thursday 16th June at 7.30pm

This new comic dystopian allegory is set in 2084 on the fictitious island of Abatina in a world where people are either glamorous celebrities or slobbering dog-like followers of them gripped to their telepafones – with the exception of the Nevnops (Not Very Nice People) as the President, Big Al, calls them. The story follows Tina who enters ‘Marriage Maker’, a ‘telepavision’ gameshow. The idea of the game is if you win you get to marry the super-glamorous footballer, Harry Best, on the Saturday, have a weekend of love, then divorce him on the Monday. ‘All the fun & no ties!’ as the compere, Rich Nobb, puts it. Unfortunately, Tina makes the mistake of falling in love when she wins & doesn’t want to divorce. Doreen, her best friend, has her own opinion, but then she might be a Nevnop & the Mind Police might get to her first & send her to the wolves on the ‘Other Side’ – a dangerous world over ‘the mountain’ where the inhabitants of Abatina, according to Big Al, must not go, with dangerous free-thinkers & wolves that might get them.
Booking details etc.

Mavis Farrer

It is with sadness that we learn of the peaceful passing of Mavis Farrer, on November 2nd.  at the age of 98 .
For many years Mavis, past resident of Hadlow Down and wife of the late John, mother of Alison and Simon, grandmother and great grandmother. was a key member of the Variety Club and the Horticultural  Society as well as being a co-editor of the Parish Magazine.
The funeral is to be held at St. Phillip’s Church, Ticehurst Road, Burwash, Burwash Weald, UK, TN19 7NA at 11 am on Friday November 26th..


Little Lily Harley

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company
Little Lily Harley at The Cricket Field, Hadlow Down, East Sussex, Saturday 7th August at 7.30pm

‘Little Lily Harley’ is about Charlie Chaplin’s childhood in Lambeth. With a drunken but charismatic actor father who was rarely around & a beautiful young actress of a mother who had three children by different fathers, he had to learn along-side his big brother Sydney how to survive a very precarious existence. Sometimes fostered by other people, sometimes in a school for destitute children, sometimes separated from Sydney & sometimes living on the street (as a child!) he nevertheless managed to triumph over all this to become arguably the greatest film actor ever. Pete Talbot, the director, says, “When I wrote the play in 2019, I could not have known how apt it would be for today. The message of hope, triumph over pain, through the imagination and laughter, is really important for today.”

Adults (18 to 64) £19.00, Seniors (65+ & retired) £18.00, Students (18+ & in full time education) £13.00, Children (7 to 17) £10.00 & Families (any two adults or seniors & two children) £45.00.
Important: Visit the Rude’s Web Site to book and read full details of arrangements including Covid restrictions etc.
If you do not have a Paypal account
 –  use the credit or debit card ‘Check out as a guest’ option which is further down the page when you book & come to pay.
Online ticket sales close at 11.00pm the evening before the date of the show. This does not mean we are sold out. In these circumstances ring 01323-501260 to reserve tickets, or just come. We cannot guarantee, however, that you will get in, but worth a try.

Continue reading “Little Lily Harley”

Hadlow Down Variety and Drama Club


Do you like to act, sing or dance? Can you play the piano or keyboard? Can you sew? Make and paint scenery? Design and make props? Are you interested in Sound and Lighting for stage productions? Can you design and sew costumes? Are you good at Publicity, Stage Management, or just making tea?
If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then come and join Hadlow Down Variety and Drama Club.
Well established, we are a very friendly, fun-loving, lively and informal group. We put on plays, murder mystery dinners and pantomimes – all performed by the village, for the village.
In addition, we meet socially for meals out, mime and improvisation evenings, theatre visits and an annual barbecue. We are always looking to welcome new members.