Stage call to residents to help tell Ripon Workhouse tale

A community theatre project will help celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee after a successful funding bid by Ripon City Festival Trust.

By Janet Harrison
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 3:15 pm

In partnership with Ripon Museum Trust, Jubilee at the Workhouse is a living history project being developed by Fell-Foss Theatre Company for June.

Under writer and director Mark Cronfield, residents and museum volunteers will bring to life biographies of former inmates.

Community Curator at Ripon Museum Trust, Dr Laura Allan said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Ripon Theatre Festival on this site-specific performance that will reimagine the theatre experience.

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“The historic spaces of the Workhouse Museum will be transformed into a stage with volunteers and the local community at the centre of the story.

“We are asking the local community to give it a go and get involved with this special Jubilee performance.”

Examining how the lives of the poor brush with key moments in history, the performance will reflect on previous royal celebrations in Ripon as the audience encounters characters whilet moving through the museum.

People are being urged to find out more on taking part in the project by attending an open event at the Workhouse Museum on Allhallowgate on Saturday April 30, 11am-1.30pm.

Participants will develop scripts with the museum’s Volunteer Research Group alongside local writers and specialist script writer Simon Kirk of Time will Tell Theatre Company, long-time collaborators with English Heritage.

Jubilee at the Workhouse will be presented on the final afternoon of Ripon Theatre Festival on Sunday June 26.

The promenade performances will be staggered across the afternoon and tickets will go on sale in May.

Ripon Theatre Festival runs from June 23-26, with a wide variety of performances from street theatre and puppetry to dance, storytelling and open-air Shakespeare.

Festival Co-Director, Katie Scott said: “This is our Festival’s inaugural year and we are so pleased that we have been able to include this project.”

She added: “The Festival aims to celebrate the unique city of Ripon through live performance.

“Our ambition has always been to programme original and site-specific work alongside visiting companies and this is a creative and thought-provoking way to begin.”