WASSAIL Theatre is heading in a new direction and on a different artistic path for its latest production which will be on tour this month.

The Somerset based company will be performing Reclaimed which places the audience in the heart of a fictional Somerset village under siege by the rising waters, and will tour to village halls, theatres and pubs this January and February.

Directed by Fringe First winner and Wassail Theatre’s associate director Jesse Briton, the Wassail Theatre asks what happens when a community is in crisis?

When tragedy is moments away and when your loved ones are nowhere to be seen, who do you ask for help?

Nick White, Director of Wassail Theatre explained this play had been inspired by true events from early 2014 when the Somerset Levels flooded and some communities were still under water three months later.

He said: “This was one of the wettest winters on record and we have done research with the villages of Moorland and Fordgate.

Somerset County Gazette:

"We have carried out research with residents of the communities to see how they coped with the floods and what was the impact on their lives and community.

"What we are doing after the play is having a post play chat when people can voice their opinions on the flood and ask what questions they think about.

“When we spoke to the two communities what we found was they were stronger after the flood than before. And even today meet once a week to support people.”

Nick said as theatre group this was a new style of play as it was about a real event which impacted on people’s lives.

He wanted people to know this was not a passive play and where ever they went they wanted to make sure people felt they were watching it in a village hall so they were like a community.

He said: “I live in a village and people are always saying they do not know the people in the village.

"What we want to do with this play is create a community where we go. Flooding does have a lasting impact on people and on communities.

"We are not making a political statement one way or another. We are looking at what happened in their lives and in the aftermath of the flood.

“This is a relevant and impotent subject and we are right to take a look at it.

“If people go away feeling some empathy about what has happened that would be good and create a wider awareness of events like this.

"What we are doing is looking at how people responded to the situation and what was done at the time to help people.

“This play is exciting for us as a theatre group as it is so different to our previous performance like Rex the King and the Somerset Charabanc. There is a high degree of sensitivity in doing a play like this.

Somerset County Gazette:

"We are feeling brave about it and know what we want to say and how we want to say it. It is important to do it the right way and to being it to new people so they understand the story.

“The proof will be when we perform it this month to an audience.”

Reclaimed has been made possible by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, as well as South Somerset District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, North Petherton Town Council and through Take Art’s ‘Barn’ programme. Wassail is also grateful for support from The Brewhouse Theatre, The Redbrick Building Glastonbury and Moorland & District Village Hall.

Tour dates for the play:

- 13 January: The David Hall, South Petherton, 7.30pm

- 17 January: Kingsbury Episcopi Community Centre, 8pm

- 18 January: The Theatre Shop, Clevedon, 7.30pm

- 19 January: The Redbrick Building, Glastonbury, 7.30pm

- 20 January: Brushford Village Hall, 7.30pm

- 25 January: Bridgwater Arts Centre, 7.30pm

- 26 January: West Coker Village Hall, 7.30pm

- 27 January: Victoria Hall, Radstock, 7.30pm

-  28 January: All Saints Church Hall, North Street, Langport, 7.30pm

- 31 January: Crowcombe Village Hall, 7.30pm

- 1 February: Bristol Ferment at The Loco Klub, Bristol, 6.30pm

- 2 February: Chew Stoke Church School, Chew Stoke, 8pm

- 3 February: Burrowbridge Village Hall, 7.30pm

- 4 February: Wells Little Theatre, 7.30pm

- 7 February: The Lord Nelson, Norton sub Hamdon, 8pm

- 9 February: Ashbrittle Village Hall, 7.30pm

- 10 February: The Brewhouse, Taunton, 7.15pm