A THEATRE group founded by a villager who wanted to create a community is celebrating 30 years with a special production.

West Meon Theatre was launched by former arts venue director Mary Dawson in 1993. Thirty years on the community theatre group is still going strong, with three generations of a family involved in the upcoming show.

The amateur actors have performed a variety of shows over the past three decades including Shakespeare, Chekhov, Coward, Dylan Thomas and pantomimes.

Hampshire Chronicle: West Meon Theatre through the years

To celebrate the milestone, the group will be bringing ‘TOAD’, its own adaptation of The Wind in the Willows with original music and songs to the Meon Hall stage from Wednesday, July 5 to Saturday, July 8.

READ MORE: Theatre Royal to welcome unique take on Shakespeare in June

Director Mary Dawson said: “It’s exciting and rather unbelievable. I had no real idea where it was all going when I started in 1993 – just that I had always wanted to create a community theatre group in the village so when my husband and I moved there in 1992 it was a bit of a dream

Hampshire Chronicle: West Meon Theatre through the years

“Through social and creative activities the theatre has created a strong sense of community and brought together different generations and all walks of life in a common interest.

“Highlights over the years include our first ever production of When we Are Married by JB Priestley in July 1993, our first musical -  Salad Days in 2008, when we took over the Thomas Lord pub for the production TWO about a landlord and a lady in 2009 – quite a challenge but very effective and winning production of the year at the Daily Echo Curtain Call Awards with two very contrasting production – Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie.

“One thing that is unique to us is the variety of venues we have performed in from village halls, pubs and churches to tents in gardens and varying open-air spaces.”

Hampshire Chronicle: West Meon Theatre through the years

SEE ALSO: Hampshire village cafe celebrates one year since opening

In October, the group hopes to welcome current and past members for a party to celebrate 30 years.

Hampshire Chronicle: West Meon Theatre through the years

TOAD will have a cross-generational cast of 27, with more than 75 members involved in West Meon Theatre in total.

Rehearsals for the show are in full swing, with tickets available at ticketsource.co.uk/westmeontheatre. Food cooked by the Thomas Lord pub will be available from the mobile van, West Meon Stores will be offering sweets and ice cream and Pimm’s, wine, beer and soft drinks will be sold at the bar.

Click through the gallery at the top of the page to see photos of West Meon Theatre through the years.