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.
They say there’s no rest for the wicked. We’re still not sure of the crimes Caroline Lamb, Elka Lee Green and Helen Parry have committed, but only a couple of days after zipping back down the motorway following our production of Shirleyin the Yorkshire Dales, they were setting to work on another intense project! Luckily for them, it was a pretty fantastic one.
The seeds were sown for Theft of a Girl a few months back, when we were awarded a commission from Creative Industries Trafford, who had struck up a partnership with the National Trust‘s exciting new venture known as “Trust New Art” – a branch of the charity that forms bridges between independent artists and National Trust places. Their upcoming project was Live at Lyme, and they were looking for artists and performers to create pieces inspired by the Regency period that would be shown around the beautiful and expansive Lyme Park estate in Cheshire – and within the walls of the grand house that presides over its grounds – throughout September.
The story of Ellen Turner – a schoolgirl from a wealthy family who was kidnapped and duped into marrying a much older man under false pretences – immediately sprung out at writer Caroline, and she composed a simple, atmospheric monologue to be performed in the nursery of the house, accompanied by a stop motion video. Once the commission was secured, Caroline and filmmaker Morag Hickman set out to Lyme Park armed with thirteen-inch artists’ mannequins painted in matte black and adorned with a variety of hats, and a delicate poseable doll in regency dress to painstakingly craft a film over two days.
The film completed and beautifully edited by Morag (who incidentally makes stunning jewellery too!), the project was put on hold while we staged Shirley. Caroline, Elka and Helen then regrouped to prepare the monologue.
On the weekend of the performances, the weather was beautiful and the trip to lovely Disley by train was swift. Lyme Park looked regal in the morning light, but we had little chance to wander around – Elka was straight into costume, and we hurried to the nursery for the first performance at 11.30am. Three more performances followed that day, and four the next. The room was packed, with audience members huddling up on the little iron-framed bed and clustering around the fireplace at the back. There was a hushed buzz in the nursery, which was thrilling.
We experience lovely feedback, and truly enjoyed our experience with Creative Industries Trafford and the National Trust. If “Trust New Art” can afford creatives like us the opportunity to work in places steeped in such rich and intriguing history as Lyme, and continue to introduce new audiences to theatre and art, then we hope the scheme goes on for many years!
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.
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.