The History of MADhurst
by the Revd. Marcus Ronchetti, Founder of MADhurst
I arrived in Midhurst to find a delightful town, a great church, and lots of very friendly people. I soon discovered that, although on the surface it all seemed fairly quiet, there was a great deal of very positive things going on. There were lots of different clubs, groups, societies, organisations and activities. Some formally organised, and many were completely informal. It was not long before I realized that many of these groups never came together. In fact many didn't even know of the existence of some of the others. This was a shame because it meant people were missing out.
Like many good ideas, MADhurst was born in the pub! One evening I was in the Wheatsheaf, chatting with friends. They included Ruth, the landlady of The Wheatsheaf, Sean a member of a local band 'Boomslang', Steve, a local Councillor and photographer and a few others. We were discussing what a lovely place Midhurst is, but, how could we build relationships with more people.
One idea was to build on the local Carnival, which had been running for several years, and use it to embrace a more diverse section of our community. As we started to explore this Marco Frankland, a local music Producer and John Barrett from Rotary and Trina, a local resident with exceptional organisational skills and contacts came on board. We started thinking seriously about what would tie many groups together. We had people interested in Music that was sure. There were many people involved in a whole range of the 'Arts', and there was a sense of drama about our discussion, and so Music, Arts and Drama for Midhurst and the surrounding area came in to being. Or MADhurst for short.
The Grammar School, now Midhurst Rother College, let us use some space for an office and workshop. A Samba Band was formed, money was raised, lots of people got involved. Public meetings were held, The Council were supportive, Midhurst Parish Church were very involved and helpful. Rotary shared the Carnival with us, and after a year’s planning our first MADhurst went ahead.
It was BRILLIANT, and the Town came together for a week’s celebration of Music, Arts and Drama. The event was a great success, but the lasting legacy, and in fact the point behind it all was the growing relationships between so many wonderful local people.