New play on the need for affordable housing

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A NEW play about the need for affordable housing will be coming to Dorset venues from November.

Dorset writer and director Chris Fogg has responded to this hot topic by writing and producing a new play, ‘Tree House’ which will be touring venues in Dorset and across the south of England.

He said: “Tree House is based in part on a true story. In Drimpton, where I live on the Dorset/South Somerset border, there was a field right in the centre of the village and although it had planning permission, the field had lain empty and unused for decades. During that time it became a children’s paradise, overgrown and unattended. It was the perfect place for secret dens and hideaways.

“Over the years, generations of children built a tree house. One boy in particular made it his passion and it became known by his name.

“When, in 2000, the developers moved in and the land was cleared in readiness for a new development, this boy got himself a job as a labourer.

“He helped demolish the tree house he had helped build, becoming a worker on the site, putting up new houses in the heart of the village where he grew-up – houses which he would never be able to afford to buy himself.

“This story is being repeated up and down the country and is one of the major crises facing society today – that young people are increasingly not able to live in the communities where they grew up.

“The result is that more and more villages and rural towns are becoming dominated by retirees and second home owners.”

‘Tree House’ is about the property ladder. It relates the fortunes of three people – Robbie, Jane and Alan – who are first introduced to the audience as children playing in a tree house on a piece of waste ground on the edge of a village.

The play follows their journey as the navigate their way along the different stages of the social and property ladder.

Jane goes into law, politics and the media, Alan pursues a career in property, finance and the city and Robbie joins the army, carries out a number of tours in Afghanistan defusing roadside bombs where a spontaneous act of kindness leads to a sudden and unexpected tragedy.

Some years later fate conspires to bring all three back to the waste ground, back to the old tree house where old scores are settled in a final act of reckoning.

The story is one of love and dreams, promises and betrayals, shot through with warmth, humour and compassion, told by a company of three actors and a live musician.

In addition to the play, Chris Fogg is going to villages and towns where consultations may have already just begun regarding local priorities for neighbourhood, parish or community plans, to take part in public conversations around the need for more affordable social housing.

‘Tree House’ is being used as a catalyst for such discussions and the project has received funding from West Dorset District Council – among others – to facilitate this.

The play will be coming to Drimpton Village Hall on Saturday, November 19th. To find out more call 01308 867442 or 01308 867694.

Bridport & Beaminster Reporter| Lottie is currently studying for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism through a distance learning course and joined the paper in April 2014 on a freelance basis, becoming a staff reporter in January 2015. She is now the reporter for the View From Bridport and View From Beaminster papers.

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