NEXT month, 19th December, marks the 70th anniversary of the Army’s requisition of the Dorset coastal village of Tyneham and neigbouring hamlets in Purbeck to practise manouevres in advance of the Normandy landings. In 1994 the drama group based in Corfe Castle presented ‘Tyneham Time Remembered’ as a tribute to those who were never able to return to their village and farms.
This year, Double Act, the village’s drama group, has revised the original play to mark the 70th anniversary and will be performing it during the corresponding week that the villagers received their eviction notices, November 1943.
The play begins at the end of the 19th century and ends in 1943. It is made up of stories recollected by villagers in interviews or written down and published over the years and presents an unsentimental résumé of the life they lived.
It tells of the resilience of the villagers and their belief, when they were asked to leave, that they were adding their contribution to the war’s success and with the expectation that they would return shortly after a victorious peace was established.
The householders never went back.
This community project started in January and includes many locals of all ages as well as musicians. It also includes a former resident and some descendants of Tyneham villagers, as well as some of the original play’s cast members.
Performances of Tyneham Time Remembered will be at Corfe Castle village hall at 7.30pm next Thursday (21st November), Friday 22nd, and Saturday 23rd (plus 2.30pm matinee).
Tickets from Corfe Castle Post Office or by phone from the box office on 01929 480323.