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The Village Hall

    by John Bartlett

Four Linked One Act Plays


That hallowed institution - the Village Hall, scene of unparalleled local country dramas is the setting for these four one-act linked comedy plays. Each play stands up in its own right, or they can be played together in any combination.

Comedy Play Script: 'The Village Hall' by John BartlettEach play features one or two main characters and their particular use of the Hall, a Jumble Sale, the Amateur Dramatics group and the scout's Gang Show.

The main roles in each of these are supported by other characters who are initially introduced as minor roles until they in turn are featured in subsequent plays (or acts). The Hall and the characters remain the central link and focus of the piece.

The plays should be set in a typical village Hall, somewhere in the South of England (Hampshire or Dorset for example) and although it is set in the 1990s, it would work equally well set in any time from the 1950's onwards with few modifications.

The characters should be colourful, eccentric and larger than life, all playing out their own personal agenda. They do not necessarily get on with each other, rather they tolerate village life for the good of the community.

In the first play ('The Jumble Sale') the best efforts of the lady organisers are severely tested by the Scouts, who not only try to palm off the unsold jumble from their last sale (together with a bag of their football team kit by mistake), but also make off with a tea chest full of props for the AmDram groups next show. This cast of this show is short of an actor, so the new Vicar is reluctantly persuaded to take a part. He is also taken sternly to task by an assertive middle-aged lady of the village for changing the flower arranging activities in the Church and for partnering her with someone she doesn't like at the next whist-drive. A retired Colonel with an eye for the ladies tries to apply some military thinking before the jumble sale opens, but only succeeds in breaking the entire set of tea cups at the Hall together with his ankle. The doors open, the jumble is devoured by the ravaging horder of villagers and the lady organisers breathe a sigh of relief as the sale closes for another year.

The second play ('The Melodrama') is a play within a play. More accurately, it is a dress rehearsal of a play within a play! The village AmDram group has a few 'luvvies' who take the whole thing (and themselves) far too seriously, a second tier of 'pressed men' and women and a few long-suffering backstage stalwarts who, with their Directors help, are trying to stage a few performances of a nautical melodrama. The dress rehearsal starts well, but starts to fall apart when it is discovered that all the props have disappeared. The descent into farce continues as the sailors forget their stage left from their stage right, the lighting board fails and the Director becomes increasingly irascible through this and the quest for " what's my motivation darling?". 'The Melodrama' should be played for laughs, but must not itself descend into farce.

The third play, 'Ging, Gang, Goolie' recounts the tale of Gordon the Scout Master's attempts to modernise the village Scout group. No more Bob-A-Job Week and Jumble Sales for them - it's now 'investing in people', nurturing the young, recognition, respect and power. The well-meant, but rather radical sentiments behind this become mistaken by one Scout's parent for a laid-back attitude towards discipline and perhaps an over-developed fondness for young boys. Whilst the former is to a certain extent true, the latter could not be further from the truth. The Scouts and Guides get to grips with their less than satisfactory changing rooms at the Hall which Gordon maintains are fine, but the occupants find they allow certain 'amorous opportunities'. David Pike manages to smuggle his new girlfriend into the Hall, but they are waylaid by Gordon. Cheryl, who is a few years older than David takes an immediate shine to Gordon, and they are later discovered in a compromising position by Jane, Gordon's girlfriend. Unfortunately, Cheryl turns out to be Jane's niece much to Gordon's chagrin. Jane takes umbrage, and when another Scout is discovered chasing a scantily-clad Guide across the stage, she accuses him of "corrupting minors". At last the gang show gets going and the cast sing the two scout anthems 'Ging, Gang, Goolie' and 'Crest Of A Wave' together with Gordons innovative addition - a scout rap, during which the Police arrive (following two complaints about him) and cart him off for questioning.

In the final play, 'The Wedding Reception', The love-hate relationship between Gordon and Jane reaches its climax as they are about to tie the knot, despite Jane being heavily pregnant. With the preparations in hand for the wedding breakfast by the ladies of the village, and the church full with guests, it transpires that Gordon is missing and hasn't been seen for some time. Tired of sitting in the limousine and annoyed by Gordon's absence, Jane rushes in to the village hall in search of a quick drink to 'calm her nerves'. Once too much alcohol is inside her, she becomes a bit too frank with her views on Gordon and the ladies of the village who variously get annoyed with her or sympathise with her. Mr Wrankin complains bitterly that someone has broken one of the windows and 'you lot' will have to pay for it. Gordon and Michael then surface from a drunken stupor having broken into the hall the previous night to get Gordon's emergency bottle of scotch. Risking breaking her 'good luck' by seeing Gordon before the wedding, Jane takes a swing at him but instantly regrets this and starts to forgive him. That is until Cheryl appears, and suspecting Gordon of canoodling with Cheryl again, Jane floors him once more. It is of course a ghastly mistake, and once this is realised, Gordon and Jane rush off to the church. With the final food preparation in hand, and Dai checking the disco to see how loud it will go, Pike and Jimmy Paine play their practical jokes - a slippery floor and stink bombs under chairs. Miss Kill and Mrs Paine messily fall victim to the first whilst carrying in the Pavlovas and to the second as they try to recover their composure. As the wedding party enters, they are assailed by an excess of smell, sound and sight - until the main fuse blows!


4 x 30 mins approx


(Principals : 5m, 6f; Support 5m, 9f) Please note that not all these characters below appear in every play

  • Mr (or Mrs) Wrankin - caretaker of the Hall, officious, 'jobsworth' type
  • Vicar - 30s, new to the parish, eager to please everybody
  • Mrs Meacher - middle aged, middle class, twin-set and pearls type, prickly, doesn't suffer fools gladly
  • Jane - 30-40, single, has dated Gordon Phillips, willing helper at village events
  • Phyllis - 20-30, single, nurse, living in the village, another willing helper
  • Colin Rutter - 40-50, Director of the village AmDram group ('The Treadeagle Players')
  • Colonel Drinkwater - 60-80, typical retired military man with a twinkle in his eye
  • David Pike - 12-15, assertive scout with a keen interest in girls
  • Miss Kill - middle-aged spinster, 'jolly hockey sticks' type, leader of the Girl Guides
  • Mr Tumley - 70-90, a timid 'Private Godfrey' type
  • Gordon Phillips - 35-45, the Scoutmaster
  • Captain Hearty-Oke - 50s, the revered ship's Master in the melodrama, a 'luvvie'
  • Bartrum - 40s, Jack's uncle, the First Lieutenant, 'over the top' actor
  • Jack - young sailor, keen, public-school type (could be played by a boy, man or woman)
  • Ruth - the Wardrobe mistress
  • Mary - the Props mistress
  • Sailors 1, 2 and 3 - sailors with speaking parts (written to be played by women, but could equally be played by men)
  • Ghost - the voice (offstage) of Algernon, Bartrums dead brother, appears very briefly as a vision
  • Dai Llewellen - the lighting and sound technician, Welsh
  • Jimmy Paine - 12-15, a pimply youth in awe of his mother, Mrs Paine
  • Scout - 12-15, another David Pike
  • Michael - the Scout Leader, Gordon's assistant/helper
  • Mrs Paine - 30-40, Jimmy Paine's mother, protective, strong willed and speaks her mind
  • Cheryl - 17-18, attractive, tarty sort of girl, out for a good time, fickle
  • Girl Guides - 12-15, between 3 and 5 girls (one speaks, scantily clad)
  • Inspector - 45-55. A policeman in plain clothes
Various non-speaking roles are required as attendees at the jumble sale, additional sailors/pirates, scouts/guides and policemen.

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