Following a series of interviews and workshops with local community members, January 2019 began with two weeks of rehearsal, supported by The Witham and Gala, Durham. This culminated in two rehearsed readings and plenty of useful audience feedback.
‘I thoroughly enjoy the play reading – even though I sobbed my heart out. … I loved the humour and the very truthful characters and the reality of the piece, very evocative.’ (Shelley O’Brien, Mad Alice Theatre Company)
‘We thoroughly enjoyed the reading it was such a powerful and emotional subject that we were transported to a different time.’ (Pam Hymas, Community Member)
The historical context: The categorisation of County Durham settlements in 1950s as A, B, C or D left ‘D villages’ with no investment and saw 85,000 residents actively encouraged to leave their homes. Nearly a third of County Durham villages, 114 in total, were classed as ‘category D’ and were expected to disappear quietly. Very few did and the ones left standing have their own stories to tell, over 60 years later.