NO FINER LIFE, A Dogwood Production

RSC: The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon
13th March 2018


Graham Harvey, for twenty years the Agricultural Story Editor of The Archers and writer of more than 600 episodes, brings to the stage the true tale of an unlikely Cotswold hero and an enduring romance. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside at the end of World War Two, rich in tradition and full of vivid, memorable characters. But this is no nostalgic, bucolic ramble.

This is Elizabeth’s story…
What inspires a young Somerset land girl to set off in search of a best selling author in the darkest days of war? The story moves between the 1940s and the current day, reflecting that the love of the countryside, the need to protect it and issues of national identity, are timeless. A tale as relevant today as it ever was. “When peace is won, we fight for the land we love”…

Elizabeth is played by Rebecca Bailey and the show is directed by James Le Lacheur, who has recently spent a year in London’s West End in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The show features new live music composed and performed by Alastair Collingwood, who has written scores for numerous theatre shows, including Betty in London’s West End, directed by Kathy Burke, and Cora with Dana Gillespie, which also toured the USA. His TV credits include the title music for French and Saunders (BBC1), Rhona (BBC 2), Vanessa’s Real Lives (ITV 1) and How Clean Is Your House? (Channel 4), amongst many others.

This production is being presented for CPRE Warwickshire at

RSC: The Other Place, Southern Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon

on Tuesday, 13th March 2018 at 7.30 pm

Tickets £17.50 (£15.00 for concessions)

Book now at www.rsc.org.uk/NoFinerLife

At this performance there will be an after-show discussion with Graham Harvey included in the ticket price.

2017 AGM Report

Thirty six members gathered in the spectacular surroundings of the Guild Hall of the Lord Leycester Hospital for our branch’s fifty fourth Annual General Meeting.

David, the Lord Willoughby de Broke, was standing down and received heartfelt thanks for the work he has done for the branch over the fourteen years he has been President and he was presented with a book entitled “Warwickshire County Biographies”, along with a mandevilla climbing perennial shrub, normally at home in the tropics of central and south America (so we wish it well on the border of Warwickshire and Gloucestershire!) by our Chairman, Sir Andrew Watson.

Andrew also welcomed our incoming President, Henry, Lord Plumb, former President of the European Commission, before giving his review of the year.

Our guest speaker, Roger Pringle, gave an inspirational and at times wonderfully amusing talk about Rural Warwickshire, referencing many authors and poets who had praised the county’s landscapes in their writing – from John Leland, the father of English local history, to Henry James and beyond – including Elizabeth Barrett Browning who spoke of ‘the ground’s most gentle dimplement’, which seemed most applicable to Warwickshire, though she had Worcestershire in mind. We heard from Michael Drayton, the county’s first poet of renown (yes, he preceded the great Bard!) whose poem in praise of his native land stretched to nearly 500 lines, though (thankfully!) Roger confined himself to an extract about the Forest of Arden. There was John Drinkwater in love with our oaks, and George Morley of Leamington Spa who wrote  about our woodlands a century ago, when there was much talk of ‘leafy Warwickshire’ and it was often said that a squirrel could cross the county without touching the ground. North Warwickshire was not forgotten – its coal mining and trunk roads, but also its scenic delights, captured by George Elliot and others. And for balance Roger referred to a one or two dissenters: Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, who told Archbishop Whately that his local scenery was ‘one endless monotony’ and he cared nothing for Warwickshire;  a Scottish agriculture inspector who, in 1813, lambasted the county’s farmers for their ploughing and ‘great slovenliness’; and Arthur Quiller-Couch who, canoeing  down the length of the  winding Avon,  got very frustrated at not being able to find Bubbenhall!

These three aside, if only the powers that be in the county’s planning departments would be as sensitive to the countryside as the poets and writers spoken of by Roger.

The meeting ended and light refreshments and a glass of wine was enjoyed by all.

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