Putting a play on its feet is, of course, a director’s job but putting your own play on its feet has a slightly different feel to it. It has been a fascinating journey writing and rewriting it on the page and then taking it from page to stage firstly at Millgate Arts Centre and now at Oldham Parish Church. The company’s skills and enthusiasm has made the whole rehearsal experience a joy and Peter Wakefield’s good humoured management of the music has been a blessing.
I am indebted to the cast, crew and my co- writer Livi Michael for helping me tell the story of these three extraordinary women who put their necks on the line – literally- when they agreed to sing in Elias Hall’s choir.
Our main characters really existed and you will see that Richard Sugden’s name adorns the list of vicars on the board behind you. However, despite all our research we could not find the names of our three intrepid singers so we have chosen local names and used the Tetlow sisters who were church and choir benefactors at this time.
There were three women amongst the thirty-six men in Elias Hall’s choir and they did sing at St Mary’s, Oldham on Easter Sunday 1701 before the Bishop of Chester. As far as we can find out they were the first women to do this, certainly in England and most probably in Europe. Enjoy their story and be proud of their courage.
We are hoping that some of the proceeds from the performance at Oldham Parish Church will go towards erecting a plaque commemorating these women somewhere near the west door of the Church .
Tickets available for performance on Tuesday 30th August 7.30pm at Oldham Parish Church on www.millgateartscentre.co.uk