Sunday, 25 November 2007

George Hargrave dies again

This week saw the last performance, in 2007, of my Victorian murder mystery event, ‘Who Killed George Hargrave?’ It took place at the Dudson Museum in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, and the actors performed on a wonderful set conceived by the curator, Alison Morgan.

I’d never even heard of the Dudson before Alison contacted me to enquire about the mystery evening, but I liked the place a lot (once I’d calmed down after a journey made fraught by a pile-up on the M6 which resulted in a ten-mile tail-back.) The theme of the museum is Staffordshire pottery, and the centrepiece of the group of buildings is a renovated bottle oven, which reminded me of a similar place where the mystery was performed last year, in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. I am a huge fan of museums (in my day job, one of my absolute favourite clients is the World Museum, Liverpool – great people) and I’m often struck by the charm of the many small, relatively unsung museums tucked away up and down the country. They tell us a great deal about our heritage, in a very digestible manner. Take a look at the Dudson if you are ever in the Potteries.

The actors performed with gusto and the evening was a sell-out. All very gratifying. This year I’ve staged the event more than ever before and one thing that I never expected when I first wrote it is the variety of interpretations that different groups of actors find in material that (for plot reasons) is necessarily very tightly scripted. In the past twelve months, we’ve done the event in places as far apart as Stroud and Huddersfield, and in a stately home as well as at the Dudson and assorted libraries.

So, no more events for me until the new year. I might even get a bit of writing done in the near future. But in March, George Hargrave will bite the dust on three consecutive evenings at different venues in the North East – a Victorian murder mystery tour! More details soon on my website.

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