Theft of a Girl 2017 Video

Here’s a lovely video summary of our experience delivering “Theft of a Girl” – a multimedia monologue about the scandalous kidnapping of teenager Ellen Turner from Pott Shrigley in 1826, penned by DTK artistic director Caroline Lamb.

The piece was performed in the nursery at Lyme Park in Disley, Cheshire, as one of the National Trust’s “Live at Lyme” events in September 2017. “Live at Lyme” was developed as a result of the “Trust New Art” programming scheme. Elka Lee Green played Ellen sensitively and soulfully, while a stop-motion video – beautifully shot and edited by Morag Hickman – played alongside her. Director Helen Parry lent her ample skills to the delicate moulding of the piece and performance.

This video was created by Jason Lock Photography 2017, and the whole process was generously supported by National Trust, Waterside Arts Centre & Creative Industries Trafford.

Theft of a Girl 2017 Video

After Shirley

Tackling some pretty massive challenges in a very tight space of time appears to be a habit of ours! Shirley may just have been our most ambitious project yet.

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Shirley – the first ever performance adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë novel – has been in the company’s repertoire since we presented a very successful reading of it at the Morley Arts Festival last year – but this time was different. We’d been invited by Carol Nelson of Farfield Mill in the picturesque village of Sedbergh, Cumbria, to bring it to the wonderful industrial-base-turned-arts centre in the form of a promenade. The action would be woven throughout the building; around looms, underneath the building itself in the turbine room and even spread along the walkways leading up to the entrance – so, over an intense few months, the original piece was adapted to fit the new formula and the actors, director and stage manager set to work, creating a whole new show! The themes connected the tribulations of the “Luddites”, and their employers during the industrial revolution, with the general populace of the UK today.

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Sam Redway as Joe Scott in the turbine room at Farfield Mill

In the piece, struggling to compete in the market with all trade frozen by the Napoleonic war, half-Belgian Robert Moore sets about automating his mill in readiness. Already dogged by others’ xenophobia and suspicion, his swift replacement of trained millworkers with modern machinery is quickly making him the most hated man in Stillborough. Even the loving efforts of his sister’s pupil, Caroline, and his unusual new landlady, Shirley, may fail to rescue him from assassination – as his machinery is vandalised and strange men stalk him in the shadows.

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Caroline Lamb as Shirley and Mark Roberts as Robert Moore in the Dover Gallery

Tapping into the history of Farfield really made the place come alive for us. Over just two days, we enjoyed performing the piece five times to lovely audiences, and received great feedback. Audience comments included:

“It was very professional and authentic. The cast captured the sense of the time and portrayed it beautifully.”

“Acting and entire performance wonderful. Felt myself transported back in time.”

“It was original, deftly adapted, excellent use of space and actors’ adaptability to character. Altogether a surprising, engaging production.”

“Very moving. It was superb in every respect.”

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Jo Gerard as Mrs Barraclough at the mill entrance

We want to express our hearty thanks to all who attended and supported us, as well as the officials at the Yorkshire Dales Sustainable Development Fund and the Sedbergh & District Charitable Incorporated Organisation Community Fund for their generosity, and the staff, board and volunteers of Farfield Mill for their wonderful help. Big plans are afoot for Shirley, so watch this space! You can also follow us on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DangerousToKnow or on Twitter via @DTKManc.

After Shirley

Shirley Programme

Take a look at the lovely programme for our presentation of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley at Farfield Mill in Sedbergh, Cumbria!

It’s the first time ever that the novel has been adapted for performance – so we really are making history! See the full cast and crew for this unprecedented production in order of appearance below:

 

  Seán Fitton

Michael Barraclough / Reverend Helstone / Mr Sympson

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An award winning child actor, Seán returned to the theatre later in life after a short thirty year break.  Shirley is his second project with Dangerous To Know and he is very pleased and proud to be back with the team.  He particularly enjoys learning about the historical context and feminist politics of DTK’s shows, and the challenge of playing multiple roles convincingly.

In addition to professional acting work, Seán is also a mature student at Salford University – studying for a BA in Theatre and Performance Practice – an author and an occasional musician.

 

Jo Gerard

Mrs Barraclough / Hortense / Mrs Pryor

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Jo lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.  She trained at the Arden School of Theatre, Manchester.

Her theatre credits include work with Northern Broadsides, Dark Horse Theatre and  Manchester 24/7 festival. She has appeared on screen in Emmerdale, The Royal Today and Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang, and also has a couple of commercials under her belt.

A Jazz vocalist, music teacher and lover of yoga, Jo was involved in the original rehearsed reading of Caroline Lamb’s adaptation of Shirley last year and is delighted to be performing it at Farfield Mill this year. 

 

Mark Roberts

Robert Moore

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Mark trained at the Arts Educational School of Acting in London. He is native to the Peak District in Derbyshire and is now based in Manchester. As an Actor and Theatre Maker he regularly works on new writing and rehearsed readings.

He is an associate artist with the Babbling Vagabonds Theatre Company.

Recent stage credits include Freddy Frith in Derby Live & Babbling Vagabonds’ Captain Sprout and the Christmas Pirates, Detective Caminada for Pagelight Productions’ A Very Victorian ScandalSam Philips in Rock and Roll Productions’ Memphis SonMartin in Blind Faith’s Fool for Love, Mr Hardcastle & Luther Gascoigne in The Library Theatre Company’s Playing Up North, Jacob Grimm in the Babbling Vagabonds’ The Brothers Grimm, Will Derby in Cotton Grass Theatre’s Thin Air and Bottom, Oberon & Demetrius in Sheffield Crucible’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Behind the CurtainRecent film roles have included DCI Anthony Roberts for Green Pen Productions’ Bad Blood and Sheep Dawg in Lesta-Botheration’s 8Acre.

He is pleased to be working with Dangerous To Know for the first time on what has been a fascinating production to be in.

 

Elka Lee Green

Caroline Helstone

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Elka graduated from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts North in 2014. Some of her favourite credits include the devised verbatim piece Vent (the Royal Exchange’s Co:Lab festival), the role of Chelsea in two tours of the hard-hitting play Chelsea’s Choice (Alter Ego Creative Solutions) a speaking role in the opera Intermezzo (Garsington Opera) and Danny the Champion of the World (Brentwood Theatre). She has also appeared in short films with Dustfarm, Little Joy Productions and Quickfoot Media. It’s a Dangerous To Know double bill for Elka this month as she will be playing Ellen Turner in their next exciting commission, Theft of a Girl, a live monologue blended with stop motion film for Lyme Park’s “Live at Lyme” event.

 

Sam Redway

Joe Scott / Louis Moore

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Sam Redway is an award-winning Manchester-based actor, theatre-maker and co-Artistic Director of Knaïve Theatre. He trained at RADA on the MA Theatre Lab (2014). He has toured nationally and internationally as Osama Bin Laden in Knaïve Theatre’s multi-international award-winning Bin Laden: The One Man Show. His directing includes Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, A Dead Tree Gives No Shelter (ACE Funded) and OSA. His writing includes co-writing Bin Laden: The One Man Show; a Modern Mystery Play, The Fall; and a libretto for Size Zero Opera, Women Conduct. 

He has performed and devised with many companies nationally and internationally, including: Theatre Ad Infititum, Familia De La Noche, Dangerous to Know, Manchester Camerata, Smoking Apples, Hiccup Theatre and Engine House Productions.

 

Caroline Lamb

Shirley

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Caroline graduated from the Lincoln School of Performing Arts in 2012 and works as a writer, producer and actor. Her performance credits include Gwendolen in the Houldsworth Rep’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Emily Brontë in Dangerous To Know’s The Dissolution of Percy and Jane in Haddon Hall’s Jane Eyre. Writing credits include Dangerous To Know’s The Dissolution of Percy, Theft of a Girl and Shirley.

Caroline is thrilled to be returning to her home town with Shirley!

 

Joe Colgan

Stage Manager

Joseph Colgan is a North West based freelance Company Stage Manager. Alongside working on TV and film projects, he has provided technical support for corporate entertainment events, festivals, theatre and education. In addition to this CSM’ing for national touring productions at venues across the UK and Ireland, recent engagements include OMTC Festival 2017 and filming on City and The City for BBC/Mammoth Films and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Feelgood Theatre Company.

 

Helen Parry

Director

Helen is a freelance theatre director who originally trained as an actor. She has an extensive body of work ranging from classical plays to new writing with several site-specific projects along the way. She will be teaching at ALRA this term and then is off to Copenhagen in January to direct Caryl Churchill’s A Number for That Theatre Company. Her continued collaboration with Caroline Lamb’s company, Dangerous to Know, excites and inspires!

Shirley Programme

Theft of a Girl

Dangerous To Know has been lucky enough to receive a great commission from Creative Industries Trafford to produce a piece of live art, which will be performed over multiple instances during the 23rd and 24th September 2017. The event is called Live at Lyme, and features multiple pieces and performances being shown at Lyme in Disley throughout the end of September.

Theft of a Girl Publicity

In response to a very exciting brief, we produced Theft of a Girl, a piece featuring a simple and soulful monologue performed by Shirley‘s Elka Lee Green about the abduction of 15 year old heiress Ellen Turner from Pott Shrigley in 1826. The performance will also feature a stop motion film about the events, created by Caroline Lamb and visiting artist Morag Hickman.

There is no further cost above admission to the house to see the piece. Please find further information here.

Theft of a Girl

Events During Our Hiatus

We’ve been quiet for a little while, but never fear! Dangerous To Know is bubbling away in the background, gradually brewing up our next theatrical offering. In the meantime, however, Caroline has being enjoying involvement in a number of other Northern projects that we’d encourage you all to get behind.

  1. Northern Rep’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Rep is back in Manchester after half a century, and this particular company pulls no punches with its inaugural production. This thrilling re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic fairy-filled-fantasy is unlike anything else. For a taster of what lies in store, take a peak at this write-up in the Manchester Evening News. It’s running in the Great Northern Warehouse for another fortnight, so there’s still time to snap up a ticket if you’re quick.

BOOK FOR A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM HERE

 

  1. Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

A location for the stunning 2011 Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender, Haddon Hall is a grand and glorious property near Bakewell in Derbyshire. This summer, the hall is playing host to a wonderful promenade theatre adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and Caroline is thrilled to be playing Jane on 20th, 21st and 22nd June 2017! These performances are preceded by a glass of Prosecco per person, and the evening is rounded off with a gorgeous three-course meal.

BOOK FOR JANE EYRE HERE

 

  1. Exploring the Brontës

Caroline will continue her collaboration with poet and fellow Brontë enthusiast Simon Zonenblick of Caterpillar Poetry with evening events later in the year. In equal parts an enlightening talk on the area’s connections with the Brontë family and a lively reading of extracts of the family’s work, followed by an intimate theatrical performance entitled The Cold Plunge, Caroline and Simon will be joining forces with local artists and musicians in various locations throughout the North. Keep checking our website, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for further information about the next event.

 

Events During Our Hiatus

A Fine Day in Scarborough!

After a month with no readings, it seemed only right to get the ball rolling again with a trip to gloriously sunny Scarborough, a standout gem of Yorkshire where they do tea the proper way!

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Tea from Cafe and Bistro on the Corner! Full English also recommended, especially after a long train journey!

 Of course, my joy at the appearance of actual real sunshine and the partaking of good strong tea was tempered by certain sober facts. Scarborough was the favourite holiday destination of the Robinson family, who employed first Anne Brontë, then Branwell too, as tutors for their children between 1840 and 1845, and took the two siblings with them on their trips, probably exposing them to more affluence than they had seen in their entire lives! It is very likely that the Robinsons made use of the highly fashionable Spa complex whilst visiting Scarborough, especially because of its strong connections to the world of music hall.

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Part of the Spa. Tres poshe.

(Lydia Robinson Jr later eloped with a comedian. Music hall became slightly less popular with the family after that!)

Branwell allegedly conducted an extra-marital affair with Lydia Robinson Sr, which was discovered just before he was due to join the family on a holiday, and his contract was terminated. Anne left the Robisons’ employment at around the same time – something that has never been fully explained but that many suggest was down to a powerful sense of shame. However, the seaside at Scarborough was always a very special place for her.

Four years later, after the death of her brother and older sister Emily, Anne became consumptive and was accompanied back to her favourite town by her oldest sister Charlotte and Charlotte’s friend, Ellen, for rest and recuperation. However, Anne’s health had suffered a critical blow and she died at the age of 29 in a house which once stood where the Grand Hotel is now located on St Nicholas’ Cliffs. Her final words to her sister were supposedly “Take courage, Charlotte. Take courage.”

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Before her passing, Anne expressed a wish to be buried in Scarborough. As a result, she is the only member of the family not interred in the Brontë crypt in the church of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth. Her beautiful grave stands on the hillside to this day, alongside a new plaque provided by the Brontë Society:

 

Lavender courtesy of DTK!
Lavender courtesy of DTK!

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After a lovely walk along the beach and becoming slightly overexcited by an original Victorian tram:

VIDEO: TRAM!!

I arrived at Taylor’s Cafe and Books, a gorgeous independent venue on the beautiful hide-away Bar Street.

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The readings went down brilliantly, but even more exciting were the lovely people I got the chance to meet. Among my friendly and receptive audience members was Julie Noble, an author of young adult fiction who wrote the astonishing Talli’s Secretthe story of a young girl suffering from dyslexia and dyspraxia with an inspired link to the Brontës. I am already two-thirds of the way through it and I cannot put it down! Please do read it if you get the chance, especially any parents with children that might be affected by these particular issues.

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www.tallissecret.com

Also with us were the brilliant Melissa (8) and Leon (7). Melissa volunteered to read one of the poems herself, and presented Charlotte Brontë’s Life with panache and great skill despite some very tough vocabulary. She also gave me this beautiful drawing of a ballerina, complete with ringlets and voluminous tutu for you to admire:

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Meanwhile, skilled photographer Leon captured these images of me hard at work! Leon did a superb job, and I’m extremely pleased with the pictures. Here they are!

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Leon also provided me with two fine examples of pen-drawing:

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The first is a dramatic and very relevant image of a factory, smoke billowing from its chimney – just how the industrial buildings of Yorkshire might have looked in Victorian times. The second is a more domestic scene – a lovely house.

Well done, Melissa and Leon! You should be very proud of your work today 🙂

It was wonderful to meet my lovely Scarborough group this evening, and the staff of Taylor’s Cafe and Books were helpful, enthusiastic and generally really lovely to be around. I’d strongly recommend a visit. Also, huge thanks to Wardle & Jones Books and Scarborough Library for their help in promoting the event! I’ll be at the Library on 1st October in anticipation of National Poetry Day, so get that in your diaries! Also, keep you eyes peeled for more news about Dangerous To Know in Scarborough!

A Fine Day in Scarborough!