Cuddington | Buckinghamshire

Cuddington Youth Drama

Cuddington Youth Drama meets at the Bernard Hall, Cuddington every Saturday morning in term time between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm, for three hours of drama, improvisation and singing with the emphasis firmly on fun.

Each year we stage at least one show, which might be a play, a musical, an improvised drama, a singing recital – or perhaps a combination of all of these!  Past productions include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Honk! Jr, Peter Pan, The Search for Odysseus, The Aristocats Kids, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof Jr. and several singing recitals and improv performances.

Our most recent major production was Alice in Wonderland, adapted from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

CYD is run by Elaine English, a professional actress and drama tutor.  The group is open to all children and teenagers aged between 7 and 17 from Cuddington and the surrounding area.

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CYD Interviewed on Red Kite Radio

Five members of the cast of Cuddington Youth Drama –  Kyle, Iolo, Eliza, Amber and Oscar – were interviewed on Red Kite Radio this afternoon.

The interview was about CYD’s latest production The Wardrobe, running at the Bernard Hall until tomorrow evening.

Listen to the interview here

The Wardrobe

Time travel through Britain’s unique history in The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft.

Following their success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, Cuddington Youth Drama stepped onto stage this Easter Holiday to explore Britain’s History in a unique and revealing play.

Set within a Tudor wardrobe, the play followed its ownership across the centuries.  In each scene, children climbed into the wardrobe, seeking sanctuary of one sort or another from the events outside.  We saw history through the eyes of each child as they shared their life experiences, their secrets and found the funny in the history of the day.


CYD on 107.2 Red Kite Radio

Four members of the cast of Cuddington Youth Drama –  Kyle, Lucy, Jazzy and Lottie – were interviewed on Red Kite Radio this afternoon.

The interview was about CYD’s appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, performing Fiddler on the Roof last year and The Domino Effect earlier this month.

Listen to the interview here


CYD at the Edinburgh Festival

Cuddington Youth Drama has returned to the Edinburgh Fringe to perform their latest production, The Domino Effect, at SpaceOne, one of the venues on the Royal Mile, all this week.

The Domino Effect is a contemporary ensemble piece about a teenage girl who chooses to be silent, but finds her voice – and her estranged mother – when a mysterious East End antiques dealer teaches her the law of unintended consequences, and how small actions can lead to big effects.  It’s a poetic story of youthful hope and optimism.

Last year, CYD were described as “the embodiment of the Fringe” for their performance of Fiddler on the Roof.  Let’s hope this year’s production is equally successful!

Listen to a short excerpt from the play, as broadcast by Howard Bond on Red Kite Radio, here.

  • The three Alices, the White Rabbit and the Dormouse
  • Allice and the White Rabbit examine the Oraculum in the Forest of Mushrooms
  • The Queen of Hearts and her Courtiers
  • The Mad Hatter's Tea Party
  • The final battle against the Jabberwocky

Alice in Wonderland

Over the Easter 2017 weekend the younger members of CYD (supported by many of the older ones) gave three highly entertaining performances of their adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

  • The Universal Clock is broken
  • Two teenage vandals terrify some new-born lambs
  • The Disaster Dance

The Domino Effect

In February 2017 CYD presented this modern play by Fin Kennedy, which was previously a five-star hit at the Edinburgh Festival fringe in 2014.

A silent girl finds her voice, and her long-lost mother, when a mysterious East End antiques dealer teaches her how small actions can lead to big effects, and how to master the law of unintended consequences.


CYD at the Edinburgh Fringe!

Cuddington Youth Drama have just returned from their first “tour” away from the village: a week-long run of performances of Fiddler on the Roof at theSpace @ Niddry Street in Edinburgh.

CYD principal Elaine English told the team “You all worked so hard!  You notched up six performances at the venue, three on the stages of the Royal Mile, about ten at the campsite, and then you took it on yourselves to perform up and down Edinburgh streets as you handed fliers out.  You have connected with strangers in ways you wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before.  I am so deeply thrilled with how everyone grew, and grew, and grew.”

Sarah Chapman, mother of two CYD members, said “We had the vision and, with the dedication of a team of loving people, we gave each other an incredible experience and made a great show...  What a huge privilege to have shared these days with them!”

Click here to see a review of CYD’s performance at the Fringe.  (Shame, though, that the reviewer re-located our village to Cheshire...!)

Fiddler on the Roof

In April 2016 CYD presented a special abridged version of the award-winning 1964 musical.

Set in the little village of Anatevka in turn-of-the-century Russia, Fiddler on the Roof Junior is the classic tale of Tevye the Dairyman and his struggle to hold onto tradition in the face of a changing world.  As Teyve’s commitment to his family, religion and the traditions that created them are tested, we see the rich love and moral dedication that holds it all together.

All photos: Rod White


Cuddington Youth Drama performed the stage musical “Oliver!” in the Bernard Hall between 18th and 22nd February 2014.

This was the well-known musical version of the classic novel by Charles Dickens, with songs like Food, Glorious Food, Consider Yourself and I’d Do Anything and music performed by a live band.  Fabulous sets, costumes and choreography made for a terrific show.

Young, Wild and Free and Shut Up!

On Saturday 23rd March, Cuddington Youth Drama presented two short plays in the Bernard Hall exploring the relationships between young people.

Young, Wild and Free was devised and scripted by the younger members of CYD themselves.  It explored what happens when two groups of young orphans became marooned on tropical islands, and their different approaches to survival.

Shut Up!, a play by Andrew Payne, was a gripping story about a teenage boy who stopped talking for no apparent reason.  No amount of persuasion, nagging or therapy could get him talking again.  The play revealed the reason for his silence and the secret he was afraid to talk about.  The play was chosen, cast and directed by Ben Stoll, one of CYD’s senior members.  Thanks to Eliza Tewson for the photos on the left.

Asthall Manor 2012

The delightful gardens of Asthall Manor near Witney, Oxfordshire, once home to the Mitfords, formed the backdrop to an exhibition of beautiful sculptures in June and July 2012.

On the last day of the exhibition, Cuddington Youth Drama was invited to Asthall Manor to interpret the scupltures in their own, unique way…

MAD About Waddesdon 2012 

MAD About Waddesdon 2012

Cuddington Youth Drama were the first act on stage at Waddesdon Manor on Saturday, 30th June for the Music, Art, Drama & Dance Festival.  CYD reprised their recent performance of The Aristocats Kids with a selection of songs from the musical.

CYD then repeated these highlights from the show at Cuddington Fête in July 2012.

The Aristocats

Cuddington Youth Drama’s 2012 production was The Aristocats Kids, an exciting musical based on Disney’s classic 1970 animated film.

In 1910, in the heart of Paris, a kind and eccentric millionairess bequeaths her entire estate to her high-society cat Duchess and her young kittens.  Furious upon hearing the news, the jealous butler kidnaps the cats and drives them out into the countryside.  It’s up to the street-wise alley cat Thomas O’Malley and his band of swingin’ jazz cats to save the day…

With energetic performances from the entire cast, terrific jazz backing music, a fine set and some fabulous costumes, this was one of CYD’s best productions to date.  After each show, the audience was treated to an ‘open mic’ session with impromptu songs, sketches and recitals from CYD members.

CYD Winter Show

Cuddington Youth Drama presented an informal evening of drama sketches, music and dance in the Bernard Hall on 11th December, 2011.  We said goodbye to Martha and Aeneas, who were leaving CYD after several years.

MAD About Waddesdon 2011 

MAD About Waddesdon 2011

Cuddington Youth Drama appeared at Waddesdon Manor on Saturday, 25th June as part of the Music, Art, Drama & Dance Festival.  CYD performed scenes and songs from the classic 1970s film “Man of La Mancha” starring Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren.

Alonso Quijana is a delusional old gentleman who renames himself Don Quijote de la Mancha, a knight-errant, and sets off in search of adventures with his neighbour Sancho Panza as his Squire.  They encounter a windmill, which Don Quijote sees only as some monstrous demon.  As the sun sets the pair stop off at an inn where Don Quijote falls in love with the serving maid Aldonza, to the ridicule of the inn’s staff and customers.

At the invitation of Milly Soames, the performance was repeated a week later at Ridgebarn Farm.  The event was a family fun day for the PACE Centre, an Aylesbury-based charity for children with physical disabilities.

One week later still, CYD performed the “Man of La Mancha” tableau once more at the village Fête.

Thanks to John McLoughlin for the photos in the banner above.

Elaine English presented Martha Barnes with an "Outstanding Contribution to CYD" award at the Sharing of Talent Show 

The Sharing of Talent Show

Cuddington Youth Drama’s Sharing of Talent Show on 21st May began what I hope is a new tradition for the group.  Each actor decided what they would most like to work on and perform, and they produced a wonderful and immensely varied programme together.

Some sketches came from TV series like “Dad’s Army” and “Black Adder”; others were devised situations full of hilarious, original characters.

CYD members performed songs from the musical “Wicked”; by Adele, Elton John and Taylor Swift; and by our own musical director Gary Hawkins. Guitars, drums, the saxophone and the piano added impressive glimpses of talented musicians in the making!  One beautiful dancer took my breath away.  Scenes from “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” were followed by tap dancers who charmed us with “Singing in the Rain”.

The company finished with “To Dream the Impossible Dream” from the film “Man of La Mancha”, which they will perform again on Saturday, 25th June at the Music, Art, Drama & Dance festival at Waddesdon Manor.

CYD would like to thank the village of Cuddington for being the place where all this talent is fostered and encouraged.  Your support is so vital – so encouraging!  Thank you CYD, youths and parents, for enriching all our lives!

Elaine English, CYD Principal

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 edition of Village Voice and is reproduced by kind permission of the author

Martha and Jamie as Penelope and Odysseus 

The Search for Odysseus

Cuddington Youth Drama’s most recent production was The Search for Odysseus, on 12th and 13th March 2011.

The play is written by Charles Way and tells the story of the teenage boy Telemachus searching for his lost father.  It is based on Homer’s epic journey poem The Odyssey, in which Odysseus is forced by an angry God to take a long route home after the Trojan War.  The goddess Athena tricks Telemachus into embarking on a challenging voyage that brings him face to face with his father’s adversaries, from a dangerously alluring goddess to an angry Cyclops; through a raging whirlpool to the Underworld and home again.

The play was enhanced by original music specially composed for this production by our musical director Gary Hawkins.  The production was set in the round, with all the atmosphere of a Greek play.

More photos of the production are displayed on the CYD website.

Charlie and Ilona as Peter Pan and Wendy 

New Peter Pan Photos

Until now, most of the photos of Peter Pan on the CYD website were of Cast B.  Happily, we have now put this right thanks to a terrific set of photos of Cast A from Simon Taylor.

Visit the Peter Pan page on the CYD website to see the new photos.

  • Luciana and Eliza as Persephone and Demeter
  • Todd as the peasant boy Alexis
  • Charlotte as the Goddess Hecate
  • Lucy as Hades, the Goddess of the Underworld
  • Mim, Eliza, Todd, Elaine, Ella, Ilona and Fanette
  • The cast of Scene One awaiting curtain up
  • Cecily, Bryony and Mim
  • Lucy and Luciana as Hades and Persephone
  • Bryony and Molly as the two Sea Nymphs
  • CYD Principal Elaine English with Eliza, Lucy, Bryony, Molly and Luciana
  • Athene, Aphrodite, Hera, Zeus and Apollo on Mount Olympus
  • Hades, Persephone, cooks and zombies in the Underworld
  • The Goddess Demeter and the hungry farmers
  • Musical Director Gary Hawkins rehearses the cast
  • Martha and Tamsin


On Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th November, CYD's younger group presented Persephone, an exciting kidnap story based on the Greek myth with a cast of gods, mortals and sea nymphs.

Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, the Goddess of Nature.  One bright summer morning she is kidnapped by Hades and forced to live in the Underworld.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the production, and to Jane Tewson for the photos on the left.