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.

 

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Events During Our Hiatus

Shirley Readings – September 2016

To quote the great American composer Leonard Bernstein:

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.

We gave ourselves only three days to prepare the first ever stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley to be performed script-in-hand to audiences at the Lass O’Gowrie in Manchester and the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Woodkirk, Leeds (as part of the Morley Arts Festival), and, even then – due to prior commitments and a last-minute recast – we were missing a third of the company for our first rehearsal!

Three days may seem a reasonable amount of time to rehearse for a reading, but given the length and complexity of the text (still a lot to get to grips with even having been whittled down from Charlotte’s hefty and dense work!), our approach of editing as we went, the necessity of working out travel logistics and other technicalities, AND the influence of DTK’s characteristic attention to detail, we were flying by the seats of our pants and no mistake!

The result was extremely rewarding. Wonderful moments of great depth, pathos and comedy were discovered on the fly, sometimes even during the performances themselves. The performers often played by instinct, lending everything a fresh and energetic feel. Director Helen Parry prioritised perfectly, knowing which moments to guide and shape, and understanding which would fall into place “on the night”. I must say that I absolutely cannot imagine how everything would have come together without Helen’s intuitive and discerning direction!

We were lucky enough to play to two very different but equally excellent audiences. The lovely intimate space above the Lass O’Gowrie pub felt full – but not uncomfortably so – and the concentration of the attendees was palpable. The room seemed to buzz! In the larger space at St Mary’s the next day there was a fantastic sense of community and support, and the comedic moments in the text were bolstered by some really rewarding laugh-out-loud responses! I’d really like to take a moment to thank Vicky – the manager at the Lass O’Gowrie who opened the space to us so enthusiastically, Ella Wild, who arranged the slot in the Morley Arts Festival for us, and the vicar at Saint Mary’s, Rev’d Sharon Wilkinson, and her team for making us feel really at home and providing the beautiful venue. The most disappointing thing about the evening was that – as the performance had run over very slightly – the company had to absolutely leg it for the exits after the “curtain call” and summing-up, randomly shaking hands and shouting thanks as we went. Having travelled in from all over – Todmorden, Macclesfield, Salford, Didsbury, Wigan, et al – many cast members were banking on catching the last trains of the day and were likely to be stranded! Luckily everyone made it on time, but that regrettably meant cutting very interesting conversations short. With any luck, we might welcome some returning audience members to the next incarnation of the piece (watch this space!) and find ourselves with a little more time to discuss everything!

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The hard-working cast of Shirley

DTK’s involvement in the Morley Arts Festival is far from complete, however. On 8th October, the company’s founder and resident playwright Caroline Lamb will join local poet and fellow Brontë enthusiast Simon Zonenblick at Morley Library to deliver an event entitled Exploring the Brontës; an evening consisting of readings of work and letters by the famous literary family itself as well as pieces inspired by them. For more details and to book, simply follow the link below:

EXPLORING THE BRONTËS

All in all, the positive responses over the last few days have really helped us to feel like we’ve hit the ground running, so do watch out for future updates about Shirley and other projects!

Shirley Readings – September 2016

Latest Activities

Thank you for your patience, everyone!

We’ve had a lot to get on with throughout the first few months of 2016, including moving base (we’re still in Greater Manchester), but discussions are still ongoing regarding the future of our latest piece, The Dissolution of Percy, along with other possible future activities, so please do keep your eyes peeled!

As a rather belated start to the year, Caroline recently travelled up to Cumbria to deliver one of her talks in the place where she grew up, Sedbergh – a town steeped in history, nestled amongst the Howgill fells, perched on the Yorkshire border.

The talk was extremely well-attended and received by members of the Sedbergh Literary Trust, there was a fantastic spread of refreshments laid out and the evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Some fascinating discussions were had after the reading also, especially surrounding events at the Clergy Daughters School in relatively-nearby Cowan Bridge, where the Brontë sisters were schooled, and where the two eldest, Maria and Elizabeth, contracted the tuberculosis that would very shortly end their young lives.

Interesting theories were covered surrounding the presence of the Brontës in the area, including the possibility that some of the ideas for their books, including the concept of a foundling child introduced in Emily’s Wuthering Heights, may have been products of the local rumour-mill during the brief time they lived in Cowan Bridge. A story that echoes that of Heathcliff’s discovery on the streets of Liverpool was at that time doing the rounds of nearby Dent village, and may have reached the ears of the then-eight-year-old Emily and remained with her for the rest of her life.

It was fantastic to begin to get the ball rolling once more, and we look forward to seeing what the rest of 2016 will bring!

Keep checking back for more updates.

Latest Activities

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!

Last Two Months at a Glance!

Scarborough Delivers Yet Again!

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Scarborough yesterday – it’s always a pleasure to visit but the weather truly made it special this time!

Naturally, we had to pop up to visit Anne Brontë’s grave, and it was lovely to see that some sweet little trinkets had been added to the tributes that already adorned it.

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We enjoyed a wander along the beach and a bit of exploring through the historic town.

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Unearthing a few hidden gems off knowledge along the way!

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Readings? Good grief, Dickens, have an original thought for once!

But time was of the essence, and we arrived at the library on Vernon Road well in advance. This was definitely necessary, as not only did we need to set up, but Caroline was performing the readings in costume and had to get changed! (Pictures to come. Of the costume, not the changing – what kind of site do you think this is?!)

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We were blessed with a warm, attentive and sizeable audience and were very well-received! Used to performing in a T-shirt and jeans, Caroline certainly struggled to avoid wilting in the sweltering costume she’d picked out for herself and admitted that she was unsure whether or not she was fully-conscious throughout the readings, but the energetic applause that followed seemed to suggest that it had all gone swimmingly!

It was fantastic to meet new friends and speak to established Brontë enthusiasts and “first-timers” alike, as it always is when our events are so well-attended, and we really hope to see some of our lovely audience members from Scarborough at a couple of our performances this November!

If you wish to book a ticket for our production, The Dissolution of Percy, please click here!

Scarborough Delivers Yet Again!

Over to York

Yesterday was a really beautiful day, and I’m glad I mad the most of it by heading over to York, one of the most beautiful cities I can think of!

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I started off by creating the cover of my next folk/grunge/indie album on the city walls: IMG_0013

I’d come on a really good day – it was the York Food Festival and the whole city smelled delicious.

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To distract myself from my only weakness – food – I entertained myself by indulging my other weakness – old stuff. Ok, I have two weaknesses. But York is fab for antiques, and look at this!

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Seen in the window of an armour shop. An armour shop. Let that sink in.
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A nice little collection of weaponry for the discerning 18th/19th century shopper.

Once I’d messed about enough, I headed over to my venue for the evening. The library, York Explore, is absolutely superb, with oak-panelled events spaces, interactive whiteboards, a cafe, full seasonal programmes of events and, of course, a staggering collection of books, archives, records… I really enjoyed myself there!

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And they actually gave me my own little room to prepare in! Now, I’m not going to get too big for my boots and call it a “dressing room”, but…

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York is always a lovely day out, and this was a great way to end it. The readings went very well, and the audience members had some really interesting questions at the end. Citing Branwell’s influence on his sisters’ literary interests at an early age, as well as their later habit of drawing on a few of his experiences as a basis for happenings in their work, one lady asked whether I thought there would BE a Brontë canon if it wasn’t for their brother. A question without a sure answer, as we knew, but an interesting one to consider. I responded that I like to think there would have been, though it would be very different, particularly in the case of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

We’ve only a couple more readings to go – one at Ponden Hall in Haworth tomorrow (email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk to book!), and one at Scarborough Library on 1st October.

Following these, we’re back at Ponden with a great set of readings for Halloween. You can bring your own ghost story, enjoy a delicious autumnal feast and snuggle up by the flickering fire before an atmospheric tour of the ancient house. Again, email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk to join in!

We’ll hopefully see you at one of our upcoming events, or you can come along to our production, The Dissolution of Percy, which is in Salford and Haworth this November.

Now we need to hurry off and prepare for our trip to Haworth tomorrow, so, in the words of that big girt church someone stuck in the middle of York:

Video: Bong Bong For Now

Over to York

Dangerous To Know Comes to York

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On Tuesday 22nd September, we’ll be at York Explore Library at 6pm, discussing the Brontës’ connection with the town and the ill-fated employment taken up by Anne and Branwell in nearby Little Ouseburn, which was to mark the beginning of the end for the family.

Booking in advance is vital. Get your tickets for free here!

Dangerous To Know Comes to York