Thursday, 17 October 2019 08:39

Step back in time at Monken Hadley Son et Lumiere

Written by
From left to right, Claire Fisher, dramatist and drama producer; rector, the Reverend Dr Thomas Renz; Charlie Fisher, who has the part of Captain Tempest-Hicks; and production manager, Katie Morris From left to right, Claire Fisher, dramatist and drama producer; rector, the Reverend Dr Thomas Renz; Charlie Fisher, who has the part of Captain Tempest-Hicks; and production manager, Katie Morris
Final rehearsals and editing are underway for a Son et Lumiere production at Monken Hadley Church which will celebrate the 525th anniversary of the church’s restoration and which takes its inspiration from the history of Barnet.

Sequences filmed during the summer, together with original live drama and music, look back on 1,000 years of history of the church, the village of Monken Hadley. Chipping Barnet and Hadley Wood.

525 Live will be presented for six performances – from Tuesday 19 November to Saturday 23 November – and the aim is to help raise funds for the cost of strengthening and refurbishing the church house hall.

The production is a joint effort by members of the church, friends and supporters who have been working away for months to recreate the events and characters who lived in and around Monken Hadley since it first became a religious settlement 1,000 years ago.

Filmed sequences include scenes from the re-enactment of the 1471 Battle of Barnet at last year’s Barnet Medieval Festival; a visit to a Bluebell Heritage Railway station which was re-signed “Hadley Wood” for the shoot; and summer scenes of Hadley Common with painting by members of the Barnet Guild of Artists.

Among those taking part are children from Monken Hadley School, who will portray children from the Victorian era, and pupils from Mount House School who will represent standard bearers at the Battle of Barnet.

Local characters brought life in sequences written by dramatist Claire Fisher include Lady Mary Wilbraham, wife of Sir Roger Wilbraham, who in 1616 built the nearby alms houses in Hadley Green Road for “six decayed housekeepers” and Captain Charles Tempest-Hicks (played by Charlie Fisher) who died in the last month of the First World War.

An American visitor is Carole (played by Claire Fisher) who visited Monken Hadley from St Mary’s church in Chappaqua, New York State, which was completed in 1906 to replicate the design of St Mary the Virgin Monken Hadley.

Katie Morris, production manager for 525 Live, said they had been fortunate to assemble a world class team of creative and technical professionals from the church and locality.

Her husband, Bill Morris, a television outside broadcast producer, had directed the filmed sequences which were being edited with pre-recorded voice overs at an editing suite in Soho.

“From the moment they arrive in the church, the audience for 525 Live will get a magical experience.

“We have drawn on a wealth of local experience and expertise and our aim is to bring the community together involving not just local children but other community groups.

“Joining us for the drama sequences will be members of the Bull Players and the Potters Bar Theatre Company.”

Claire Fisher, who is the live drama director, said the challenge when writing the dialogue was to imagine what the characters they portray might have said.

“We hope the dialogue gives them all a voice, whether it is the local children, Captain Tempest-Hicks, Lady Mary Wilbraham or the Reverend Frederick Cass, a local historian, who lived in Monken Hadley in the 1860s.”

The Rector of Monken Hadley, the Reverend Dr Thomas Renz, will open the proceedings for each production.

There are four evening performances starting at 7.30pm from Tuesday to Friday, 19-22 November; and a matinee (3.30pm) and gala performance (8pm) on Saturday 23 November. (Tickets adults £20, children £15; gala performance, adults £25, children £20.

The gala performance ends with a ceremonial lighting of the church beacon.

More information is available at


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