MED Theatre is a developmental community theatre organisation and registered charity based on Dartmoor, working with people in remote rural areas. All of our work is inspired by the history, ecology and folklore of Dartmoor and surrounding Devon, as well as the pertinent social, scientific and environmental issues which face the residents of a National Park.
Our ethos at MED Theatre is to create multigenerational, original work using local material, which highlights the relationship between theatre and its surroundings.
MED Theatre first grew out of a tradition of putting on original community plays, with an aim to promote Dartmoor’s distinctiveness through its culture and its people. Over the years our programme has expanded to include young peoples plays , film projects and dance, as well as wider research projects. We work with people of all generations from the local area. Back in 1982, when playwright Mark Beeson wrote his first community play The Hedge, he had to go to great lengths to find a cast in order for the play to be performed. Over thirty years and many plays later, it is difficult to say whether a cast is found to perform a newly-written play, or whether a play is written to satisfy the community’s need to perform.
MED Theatre puts a lot of energy into working with young people. We host regular drama groups at our studio in Moretonhampstead, including MED Theatre’s young company, Wild Nights. In addition, we have a long-standing relationship with local schools through our education program. We believe that it is during their school years that a child’s interest in drama and storytelling is made for life. Playwriting workshops with primary school children have been part of the MED Theatre programme almost since the company began.
Workshops have also formed a vital part of MED Theatre’s work ever since its early days. We aim to provide opportunities in training and education as well as performance. We run workshops in drama and movement, set-painting, mask-making, music, and playwriting, for participants of all different ages. We have also undertaken a number of major research projects, including an investigation into the history of theatre on Dartmoor. Our research website Dartmoor Resource, as well as frequent exhibitions, all contribute towards our developing vision of what community theatre can offer the area.