In 1701, the date around which our play Singers not Sinners is based, religion played an integral role everyday people’s lives. Sketches of Oldham in this period show a largely rural landscape, a few scattered cottages and St. Mary’s Church, on the crest of the hill, dominating its surroundings. With the church central to much of the action in the play, it seemed fitting that we use the interior as a backdrop for photographs of some of the key characters.
The present St Mary’s was opened in 1840, a confident gothic replacement of the earlier, simpler church more in keeping with Oldham’s new minted industrial wealth. Beneath its highly decorated space, however, is the earlier crypt; plain walls, earth floor, and the resting place for some of Oldham’s earliest families. Here we could tread the ground our namesakes had trodden and read the family names echoed in the script.
Here are some of the photos showing the cast costumes in the beautiful St Mary’s Parish Church Oldham:
For me, what started off as a Saturday morning excursion, albeit in full 18th Century costume, turned into a connection with the past and a stronger desire to bring these real characters to life.
Special thanks go to St Mary’s church who have been so welcoming and accommodating to Saddleworth Players, and to the churchwardens who was so friendly and patient with us all. We have a special Charity performance on Sunday 5th June, where all proceeds will go to local churches St Chad’s (Uppermill) and St Mary’s (Greenfield), contact us for details.
Singers and Sinners by Livi Michael and Carol Davies runs at Millgate Arts Centre 4th-9th and 11th June. For tickets see below :