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.

full cast serious.JPG

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.

Joe Scott
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.

Shirley and Robert
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.”

Mrs Barraclough
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.

Advertisements
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

IMG_3127

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

Jo Headshot

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

Mark Headshot

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

Elka Headshot 1

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

Sam Headshot

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

Caroline Headshot.png

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

Shirley at Farfield Mill

Shirley Farfield Poster Rough

Hello everyone!

We have some big news. After months of development, Shirley is back in fully-fledged, promenade style at a wonderful ex-cotton mill in Sedbergh, a gloriously picturesque town in the Yorkshire Dales!

Farfield Mill is a restored Victorian building that now houses artists’ studios and exhibition rooms, a tantalising gift shop, a superb café and a great deal more beside, and now Dangerous To Know has the honour of presenting our latest piece as an unmissable dramatised tour of this historic and fascinating building.

The event runs over multiple instances during Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September, repeating on the 16th at 1pm and 3pm, then again at 7pm as part and parcel of a deal where you can bag yourself a spot in the audience and a place at the lovely wine and cheese evening that follows for just £15 a head! On 17th you can catch it at 11.30am, 2pm and 4pm.

Charlotte Brontë’s 1849 novel has never before been adapted for performance, so we’re thrilled to be presenting this gritty version. The work was a period piece even at the time of its conception, harking back to the Napoleonic wars, when trade was tough and mill work was even tougher. Struggling to compete in the market with all trade frozen by the conflict, half-Belgian Robert Moore sets about automating his mill in readiness. Already dogged by the xenophobia and superstition of the locals, 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.

Call 015396 21958 to book tickets – numbers are limited, so get them while you can!

Shirley at Farfield Mill

Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

A date has been added due popular demand to the June promenade run of Jane Eyre, which takes place at the beautiful Haddon Hall in Derbyshire and stars Dangerous to Know’s Caroline Lamb as Jane!

Haddon_Hall

Tickets are now available for Saturday 24th June, as performances from 21st-23rd have sold out.

Hurry – get tickets here before they’re gone!

Haddon Hall is a beautiful Tudor Manor with extensions and additions from various later periods, located just outside lovely Bakewell.

Haddon Map

For more information on how to get to Haddon Hall, or for more information, just click here or call the estate office on 01629 812 855.

Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

Last Two Months at a Glance!

Well, we’ve enjoyed a whirlwind of activity recently and, in the paraphrased words of Branwell Brontë, “It is only just now that we have had time to turn ourselves round and know where we are”!

IMG_0190.JPG

Last month held some truly exciting experiences for us. on 21st October, we were invited to read extracts from Jane Eyre in the very building that once housed the Clergy Daughter’s School; the stark template for Lowood School in the novel. The Brontë School House, as it is now named, boasts exceptionally tasteful decor that proffers a suitable nod to the period in question, and no longer bears the chilling atmosphere of the infamous establishment that claimed the lives of poor Maria and Elizabeth Brontë in 1825. It is cosy and homelike, and when the fire is on in the sitting room (which boasts a selection of dangerously comfy seating and shelving loaded with fascinating books!), it’s extremely easy to forget the blustery weather outside. The best news is that you can stay there! The lovely Sandra runs the building as a holiday rental cottage, and you can find details via: www.bronteschoolhouse.com

It was a characteristically atmospheric evening as we travelled to Cowan Bridge on the Cumbria/Lancashire border.

IMG_0188.JPG

 

We arrived in good time at the School House, where we were treated to a very warm welcome and a lovely tour, provided by our host, Sandra.

Information about the Brontës, their time at the school and various other items of contemporary interest lay on the table in one of the rooms. On the wall in the same room was displayed a variety of artifacts discovered while renovating the historic building. These included knives and forks, marbles and even “horse-shoe”-shaped metal inserts designed to reinforce a very small pair of clogs or pattens!

IMG_0193.JPG

I performed the readings in costume before a roaring fire, and, with flickering lanterns outside glowing out into the wet chill of the darkening night, the event seemed to take on an almost secretive and thrilling atmosphere. I was unprepared for quite how emotionally involved the experience would be, particularly considering the significance of the passages on Jane’s friend Helen Burns, who served as a fictionalized homage to Charlotte’s ill-fated elder sisters.

IMG_0191.JPG

Despite the wonderful coziness of their seats and the glorious warmth in the room, the audience retained consciousness throughout the event and held a very interesting conversation about Charlotte’s writing and the significance of the school and the young Brontës’ experiences there within their work. It was a fantastic event, and we left hoping that we might get the opportunity to spend the night in the wonderful building sometime not too far in the future!

In the meantime, the company were heading into the final few rehearsals for The Dissolution of Percy, which was to be performed in Salford and Haworth at the beginning of the following month, but that didn’t stop us arranging another fantastic event the night before the dress rehearsal! That night was Hallowe’en.

Our good friends at Ponden Hall had been extremely enthusiastic at the suggestion of a spooky set of readings, the partaking of pie and parkin and the sharing of true ghost stories to celebrate this auspicious night, and the event did not disappoint!

Under ethereal strings of glowing lights and before the hall’s impressive hearth, I read from Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and a selection of Emily’s poetry. The atmosphere was electric, with the added threat of a glimpse of the hall’s grey bearded man or flaming-barrel gytrash adding to the otherworldly feel.

IMG_0235.JPG

A welcome break for one of Julie’s delicious spreads was extremely welcome, and we were delighted to be handed plates of steaming pie, peas and lashings of gravy! Over this fantastic repast, we began to share tales of our own eerie experiences with zeal.

The informality and communal nature of the event was testament to the ancient hall’s fantastic atmosphere, and its owners’ warmth as hosts. Ponden is another exceptionally popular guest house, and a stay there is highly recommended, especially considering that it boasts the famous “Box Bed” room from Wuthering Heights, as well as many elements of interest for the Brontë fanatic. Sketches of its rooms and windows crated by Branwell and Emily may be found in numerous reference books, and its library afforded the young family an even wider opportunity to read and learn.

You can book to stay at Ponden Hall via www.ponden-hall.co.uk

IMG_0237.JPG

Of course, only a few days later, the company were to launch into their run of The Dissolution of Percy which, as you may have seen from our previous posts, went exceptionally well if we do say so ourselves. We’ll update you further on the play’s successes and potential future life as we traverse this uncharted landscape that is life “post-Percy”, and we hope you’ll continue to follow us and see where the adventure leads!

If you know of a venue that would be interested in booking a talk, a reading or a staging of The Dissolution of Percy, or have any questions about Dangerous To Know and our work, don’t hesitate to contact us on dtkmanchester@gmail.com!

Last Two Months at a Glance!