(Images courtesy of Ian Howard)
There’s been a flurry of activity over the last couple of weeks, despite the fact that the production itself won’t launch until November! The cast all met at Contact on Oxford Road on 15th April for our first table-reading of the revised script, which ran to just under two hours. It was also a chance to meet our new director, Helen Parry, and discuss what was to come. Everyone left very tired but extremely enthused about the coming months. A few months previously, after seeing an invitation on Facebook, producer Caroline leapt at the chance to sign the whole company up to a mysterious foray into the unknown wilderness of the Yorkshire Moors, to assist Ian, the man behind Wuthering Hikes, and Oliver of gVisions media in the filming of an Ask The Locals documentary about the locations that inspired the Brontës. See the trailer below!
The day started with a bit of an honour – we met at the Black Bull pub, where the staff kindly brought down the chair that is reputed to have been Branwell Brontë’s favourite. Still in visibly good nick but apparently rather fragile-feeling when sat on, the cast and crew of the shoot were allowed to use it for a brief few moments before it was whisked away again (see the shots of “Branwell” in front of the stained glass window in the video above.)
We shot a scene in the pub, then were whisked along a winding road to the reservoir and up past Ponden Hall, the grand house the young Brontës used to visit, home to a well-stocked library that they famously used. Up and up we went, scrambling up jagged stone steps and over boggy moorland for what seemed like millions of miles to those who are used to the uninspiring grey concrete of Manchester. But what a reward! The scenery was utterly stunning, and Oliver, who was operating the camera, captured some absolutely gorgeous pieces of footage in a location that was like no other on earth.
We shot a further scene at the Alcomden stones, near to the site of a near-disastrous bog-burst that almost claimed the lives of the young Brontës, then wandered back down via the fairy cave (see the clip of the three women in the video above) and past Ponden Hall again, where the residents kindly granted the crew permission to film a couple of scenes in the garden. With aching legs and buzzing spirits, the company headed back into Haworth, where we enjoyed a delicious meal and a cheeky drink at The Fleece Inn, then set off for home. We’re now eagerly awaiting the release date of the documentary, which, we’re told, will organically develop with each shoot, but will focus on some unusual secrets hidden around the moors that may suggest Druid activity in Haworth at the time, as well as elements of the Brontës books that may cryptically hint towards Masonic inspiration. Keep an eye on gVisions media for more! As a final update, the company’s funding bid has now whizzed off to the Arts Council, complete with superb supporting documents provided by The Brontë Parsonage Museum, Bradford City Council, Salford Community Leisure and Two Yolks Theatre as well as the lovely feedback we received from our sharing in January. Here’s hoping!