IN their 20th anniversary year, Badapple Theatre Company are celebrating after receiving a grant towards this autumn's tour of The Thankful Village at the eleventh hour.

Confirmation of the Arts Council funding for Green Hammerton's "theatre on your doorstep" company arrived just as rehearsals of Kate Bramley's First World War play began, leaving cast and crew both grateful and delighted in equal measure.

"This funding has given the whole creative team such a massive boost," says Kate, Badapple’s artistic director. “The actors have shown such passion and determination in creating this beautiful show and the Arts Council support really validates all of the hard work our halls, organisers and creative staff have already put in."

On tour from tomorrow to November 11 to small venues across the country, including three "Thankful Villages", Bramley's play tells tales of the Great War from a female perspective with an all-female cast of Sarah Raine as Edie, Zoe Land as Nellie and Frances Tither as Victoria Proud. Tither, incidentally, played suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst on BBC One's Emmeline Pankhurst: Making Of A Militant, broadcast in June.

Thankful Villages were those rare places that lost no men in the Great War because all those who left to serve came home again. "There were only 53 places that could claim this honour after the end of the conflict," says Kate. "Set in Yorkshire, our poignant production gives an alternative perspective to the long years of 1914-1918, told through the eyes of three women from the same rural household – both below and above stairs – as they are left behind to cope after their men-folk march off to Flanders."

The show features songs by regular Badapple songwriter Jez Lowe, whose collaboration with Michael Morpurgo, Alone On A Wide Wide Sea, was aired on BBC Radio 2.

The 25-date tour opens tomorrow at Stillingfleet Village Institute (box office, 01423 339168) and further October performances include Catwick Village Hall, near Hull, on Friday (01964 544480/07930 8640120), Green Hammerton Village Hall, October 16 (01423 339168), and Husthwaite Village Hall, October 31 (01347 868130).

November's diary takes in Spofforth Village Hall on November 1 (01937 591621); The Grey Village Hall, Sutton-on-the-Forest, November 3 (01347 811866); St Alban’s Church Hall, Hull, November 4 (01423 339168/07401 179927), and a return to Catwick Village Hall on November 9. All performances start at 7.30pm and the full tour itinerary can be found at

"Audience reaction to The Thankful Village's debut tour was incredible, and I've now re-worked the play to reflect this year’s poignant anniversary of the end of the Great War," says Kate. "So don’t miss this story of hope, humour and humanity, about the men who went away, the women left behind, and the eccentric twists and turns of daily life that led to their re-uniting, for better or for worse, in the winter of 1918."

Delighted to be touring once more, Kate concludes: "2018 marks Badapple Theatre Company’s 20th anniversary of touring, and our mission remains to take productions to the smallest of rural venues and communities and, in doing so, find the best of new theatre in the most unexpected of places." That makes for thankful villages of a different kind, of course.