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”!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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Last Two Months at a Glance!

Lowood School

A couple of months ago, part-way along an 130-mile fundraising trek, we wandered past the atmospheric Brontë School House – once the infamous Clergy Daughters School, attended by a very young Charlotte and Emily Brontë and their tragic older sisters Maria and Elizabeth, who sadly fell victim to tuberculosis as a result of their time under its roof. Later, this establishment was the template for the dreadful Lowood School in Charlotte’s Jane Eyre.

The current owners of the building have chased away the its dark past and transformed it into a cozy, hospitable and popular guest house, and have now kindly invited us in to perform a reading tailored specifically to its Brontë connections!

Bronte Schoolhouse Poster (1)

Don’t miss out on this unique event – we’re really looking forward to reading these great works on the site that first inspired them!

Lowood School

Fundraising Walk: Day Three (Lots of videos!)

Beautiful

Early start for us!

VIDEO: EARLY START (very quiet – apologies for whispering!)

As we had to crack on from Cowan Bridge to Gargrave – a total of 25 miles – and reach our destination by 5pm, we had to get going asap. It will be a similar story tomorrow when we head to Halifax, as the readings at the Central Library will be at 5:30pm!

Today was a slog. With no reading to look forward to, foul weather, and the only route available the rain-soaked verge of a dual carriageway (in fact, we often found we were forced to walk along the carriageway itself!), it was psychologically challenging. Physically also, as there were many narrow stretches of road and tight corners where we were facing traffic head-on, including numerous articulated lorries, and that meant we were forced to stop and start over and over! Luckily, no one was squashed.

The highlight of our day was being passed by a train. We thought that fact was so sad that I thought I’d pop a quick video up in memory of the moment:

VIDEO: TRAAAIIIINNNN!

We also saw some really cute cows. That was another highlight. No time for a photo op though.

Today was not easy.

VIDEO: CAROLINE HAS A WHINE ABOUT THINGS

Upon reaching Gargrave, we dragged ourselves to the other end of the village, and we were done!

photo (3)This is not a power stance. The sign is keeping me upright.

VIDEO: COMPLETE AND UTTER RELIEF!

We’re really, really looking forward to Halifax tomorrow. Please do come along and support our readings. We’ll be at the Central Library from 5:30pm onwards. Take a look at the link below to see the trailer for our production, to donate, to find out more information or to share our campaign!

See you soon.

INFO / TRAILER / CAMPAIGN

Current Venue List for Caroline’s Readings Tour:

The Black Cock Inn, Broughton-in-Furness – Saturday 20th June – 14:00pm

Kendal Library, Kendal – Sunday 21st June – 12:00pm

Cowan Bridge Village Hall, Cowan Bridge – Sunday 21st June – 19:00pm

Halifax Central Library, Halifax – Tuesday 23rd June – 17:30pm

The Cardigan Centre, Leeds – Wednesday 24th June – 20:00pm

The New Inn, Thornton – Thursday 25th June – 20:00pm

Cobbles and Clay, Haworth – Friday 26th June – 18:00pm

Sowerby Bridge Library, Sowerby Bridge – Saturday 27th June – 14:00pm

The Kings Arms Theatre, Salford – Wednesday 8th July – 7:30pm

Follow the company on Twitter (@DTKManc) and use the hashtag #nocowardsoulismine to tweet about this adventure!

Fundraising Walk: Day Three (Lots of videos!)

Fundraising Walk: Day Two

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INFO / TRAILER / DONATE

If I look tired, it’s because I am!

Day one in Broughton-in-Furness was a fantastic start to the readings, with a lovely audience who asked really interesting and pertinent questions. It was a pleasure to chat to them, and, despite the ominous drizzle that had accompanied our journey to Broughton, on setting out from the Black Cock Inn and heading off on our way, the clouds dissipated and we enjoyed gentle sunlight for the rest of our 24.4 mile journey!

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Despite an 11pm finish in Kendal, I was feeling fresh and ready to go this morning, when I whizzed over to Lakeland Radio to chat to Simon Yaxley about the adventure so far. We cut it fine, but made it to Kendal Library with time to spare.

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After a fantastic 12 o’clock reading with a very warm welcome and another friendly, hugely receptive audience, we struck out once again towards Cowan Bridge, and we made it in astonishingly good time, having enjoyed a little impromptu parade through Kirkby Lonsdale as we stumbled across a local brass band contest!

VIDEO: PLAYED THROUGH KIRKBY LONSDALE

VIDEO: COWAN BRIDGE APPEARS

VIDEO: THE COWAN BRIDGE SCHOOL PLAQUE 

The Cowan Bridge readings also went down a treat, thanks to a very enthusiastic audience and despite our having walked around forty miles over the past two days. The reception we’ve had each time has been wonderful!

And now I look like this:

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This is a face that has worked hard. This is a face that has travelled many miles and said many words multiple times to many nice audience members. This face alone deserves support. Whether you donate or simply spread the word, it would be hugely appreciated.

We’re on a two-day push to Halifax starting tomorrow. We’ll be in the library from 5:30pm on Tuesday. Please support the company by sharing the below link, or clicking it, watching our trailer and making a donation. See you on the other side!

TRAILER, INFO AND DONATIONS

Fundraising Walk: Day Two

Brontë Readings Tour: June 2015 Fundraiser

General

Caroline, The Dissolution of Percy‘s Emily Brontë, will be walking over 130 miles in one week to raise money for the company’s November production. Along the way, she’ll be stopping off at major sites related to the story to deliver performed readings of work by the Brontës as well as pieces inspired by the famous family and donated by friends, colleagues and audience members!

There is no need to book in advance for the readings – all you need to do is come along on the night.

To donate a piece of writing inspired by The Brontës, please email dtkmanchester@gmail.com with your work attached or in the body of the email. Please include your name and the venue you will be attending!

Current Venue List

The Black Cock Inn, Broughton-in-Furness – Saturday 20th June – 14:00pm

Kendal Library, Kendal – Sunday 21st June – 12:00pm

Cowan Bridge Village Hall, Cowan Bridge – Sunday 21st June – 19:00pm

Halifax Central Library, Halifax – Tuesday 23rd June – 17:30pm

The Cardigan Centre, Leeds – Wednesday 24th June – 20:00pm

The New Inn, Thornton – Thursday 25th June – 20:00pm

Cobbles and Clay, Haworth – Friday 26th June – 18:00pm

Sowerby Bridge Library, Sowerby Bridge – Saturday 27th June – 14:00pm

Follow the company on Twitter (@DTKManc) and use the hashtag #nocowardsoulismine to tweet about this adventure!

Brontë Readings Tour: June 2015 Fundraiser