Large-scale outdoor production to tour Richmondshire in July

Darlington and Stockton Times: GIANT KNITTER: Community play Blame it on Bartle! will be staged across Richmondshire in July. From left: Susan Jinks, Margaret Cowan (inside puppet) and Linda Baldry. Credit Beki Harrison. GIANT KNITTER: Community play Blame it on Bartle! will be staged across Richmondshire in July. From left: Susan Jinks, Margaret Cowan (inside puppet) and Linda Baldry. Credit Beki Harrison.

A LARGE-scale outdoor community theatre is set to thrill audiences with its live music, giant puppets and dancing.

Six performances of ‘Blame it on Bartle!’ presented by North Country Theatre and more than 40 performers from Swaledale, Wensleydale and Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, will take place from July 10 at venues across Richmondshire.

The company receive £25,000 in Arts Council England Lottery Fund grant funding for half the cost of the project, with the rest coming from donations from Richmond Town Council, Richmondshire District Council, Friends of North Country Theatre and Angels -businesses that agree to donate £300.

This is the third Richmondshire community based play developed by the company and was written by director Nobby Dimon, based on Ibsen's folklore play Peer Gynt.

He said: “As the Tour de France cyclists pedal out of Richmondshire the stages will be put up for this amazing tale of trolls, trials and tribulation plus Wensleydale’s own version of the Wicker-man.

“Blame it on Bartle! starts at Richmond Castle on July 10 and 11 before moving to Grinton Lodge on July 13 then into Wensleydale with performances at Castle Bolton on July 17 and then Kiplin Hall on July 19 and 20.

Mr Dimon added: “Watch as the giant Knitter of Fate tries to unravel the blame game that develops in the lead mining communities of the early 19th century, join in the fun and celebrations of Reeth Bartle Fair and discover what horrors lurk deep in the mines.”

The story takes the idea of Peer Gynt for the Dales, and the company have linked up with Richmond’s twin town of Nord Fron Kommune in Norway, home to the Peer Gynt legend, and collaborated with Peer Gynt Teater to bring over seven young performers to be part of the production.

Mr Dimon added: "Peer Gynt is an old story about finding a scapegoat to blame for things going wrong - which could turn out to be relevant to audiences today."

All venues open early for people to picnic before the start of the performances which begin at 7.30pm, and 7pm at Grinton. People need to bring their own seating and dress for an outdoor performance. More information and tickets can be found at www.northcountrytheatre.com or on 01748-825288.

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