Joyce brings Dibley to the valley stage

Playwright Joyce Branagh is bringing 'The Vicar of Dibley' to the Todmorden stage later this year
Playwright Joyce Branagh is bringing 'The Vicar of Dibley' to the Todmorden stage later this year

A playwright will bring a popular TV series back to life when her stage adaptation comes to the upper Calder Valley.

Joyce Branagh has spent six months working on a stage version of hit BBC comedy “The Vicar of Dibley”, which will be performed at the Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden, in the summer.

As well as giving audience members an enjoyable evening’s entertainment, the production will also support charity, with funds raised donated to Comic Relief.

Joyce, of Todmorden, said: “I didn’t really watch it at the time. But I did watch a couple of episodes on Gold.

“I thought I didn’t like it but I was laughing for most of it and I realised I did.

“I thought it would be a fun thing to do.”

Joyce is no stranger to the stage - earlier this month she was among the cast of Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (TAODS) production of “The 39 Steps”.

She said: “I looked at some episodes that might or might not work.

“The first episode made sense and one other from that series.

“I wanted it to end with a bang, something like Hugo and Alice’s wedding, and use some bits from other episodes in between.

“It’s mostly as it was in the TV series. But there are some bits that didn’t quite work on stage or some bits where the locations didn’t work.

“It’s a bit different working with dialogue that’s already been written. It’s more about editing, working out what will work on stage, trying to create a beginning, middle and end.”

All the main characters from the TV series appear in Joyce’s play and she is looking forward to seeing it on the stage.

“I think it’s funny,” she said.

“There’s also a bit of audience participation - they will feel like they are part of the congregation in the church.

“People know it from the TV, so they are coming to see something that is kind of familiar but a bit different as well.”

The casting process for the production begins next week.

A casting session will be held at the Hippodrome Theatre, Halifax Road, Todmorden, on Wednesday, March 5, meeting at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

There will be a screening of the TV episodes on which the play is based on Friday, March 7, and a further casting session on Sunday, March 9.

For more information, call Rachel on 07904 222189 or Justine on 07970 857258.

The production will be staged at the Hippodrome Theatre from June 25-28.