Jun 20 2013

‘The Bonny Moorhen’, Killhope Mining Museum, 22 – 30 June 2013

“The Bonny Moorhen” REVISITED at Killhope Lead Mining Museum 

Outdoor Promenade Performances 

Saturday and Sunday, June 22, 23, 29, 30 at 4pm

 Drama 1500 Feet Above Sea Level!

A brand new promenade style version of the hugely successful community play ‘The Bonny Moorhen’ will be unveiled at Killhope Lead Mining Museum on Saturday 22 June at 4pm, as part of the month-long Festival of the North East. Specially created for the Festival, the performance features a cast of local actors, musicians and singers from community arts organisation ‘Drama in the Dale’.

Originally produced by Jack Drum Arts, “The Bonny Moorhen” was the focus of a hugely successful community play performed in a barn on the banks of the River Wear in 2012. Last year’s spectacular success spawned the formation of Drama in the Dale, a volunteer-run community arts organisation dedicated to developing family-friendly arts and culture activities for the benefit of people in Weardale.  The organisation successfully bid for £50,000 Big Lottery Village SOS money to support the establishment of a local office and this year’s promenade production of “The Bonny Moorhen” is the group’s flagship project for 2013.

Last year’s performance saw more than 50 local people of all ages and abilities come together to create ‘the biggest drama in the dale’ and now the same team is back with an even bolder proposition.  This year’s production will feature songs on the ‘washing floor’, a roving choir, ghostly voices from the mine, pyrotechnics and a pitched battle carefully choreographed by stage combat experts.


The production is based on the local story of a group of starving lead-miners from Weardale who rose up against the Prince Bishop of Durham in 1818 to assert their right to hunt, kill and eat the red grouse, a native game bird.  The affray, which was known as ‘The Battle of Stanhope’, was immortalised in song before becoming the inspiration for an award-winning play by celebrated singer-songwriter Jim Woodland.

People are encouraged to come early and bring a picnic to enjoy under the huge working water-wheel before the performance begins or else enjoy dinner in the excellent museum cafe.  If the weather is inclement the play will take place in a marquee: the show will go on, as they say in the business!

Tickets are £5 or £3 (concessions) with special discounts for families.  There are several ticket outlets up and down the dale such as Truffles Chocolate Shop in the Dales Centre or you can book tickets by phoning Killhope on 01388 537505 or by contacting Drama in the Dale at their office in Station House, Frosterley, 01388 527774.

There is also an online booking facility at

For more information check out or 

Festival of the North East is a month-long celebration of the region’s creativity and innovation running throughout June 2013. It includes over 200 events – free and ticketed – for people of every age, making it one of the largest festivals in the UK. Look out for the far-reaching programme of music concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, theatre shows; projects about science, engineering, heritage and literature and much more. Follow @festivalNE #festNE

“The Bonny Moorhen” at Killhope Lead Mining Museum has been supported by Durham County Council, the North Pennines Area of Outstanidn Natural Beauty. Arts Council England and Youth Music.

NB: This is an outdoor promenade performance, so please wear suitable clothes, Killhope is 1500 feet above sea level and is also prone to midgies!

Photographer Jamie Sproates.


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