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Back To Our Roots — Grant Will Bring Hall’s History To Life
Sunday 23rd January, 2005

Back To Our Roots — Grant Will Bring Hall’s History To Life
Haigh Day: Majestic Haigh Hall, which is soon to have its full story told.

It’s one of Wigan’s most prominent and enduring landmarks, popular with tourist from near and far, steeped in history, myth and legend. Now the rich heritage of Haigh Hall is set to be brought dramatically to life as part of a major theatrical production starring children from some of the borough’s schools.The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided £20,000 in the form of a ‘Young Roots’ grant to allow the project to go ahead.

Experts with Wigan Local Education Authority’s (LEA) Study Support team joined forces with the Wigan Pier Theatre Company to successfully apply for the grant, which aims to give young people the chance to get in touch with their own heritage.

Assistant Study Support Co–ordinator Lisa Holland, said:

“We will be working with Wigan Pier Theatre Company and secondary schools to explore the history of Haigh Hall through drama and media. We will be looking at particularly important and significant events and the folktales and ghost stories that are linked with the hall.”

The team will also work with older people through the Pensioners’ Link and the Over 50’s Forum to help re–live real stories and discuss them with the young people.

Haigh Hall dates back to 1850 and is the former ancestral home of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres.

But the history surrounding the hall goes far beyond this.

Martin Green, Development Officer with Wigan Pier Theatre Company, says the first step in putting the production together will be researching the history of the hall.

The team will be looking at legends such as the ghost of Lady Mabel, whose spirit is rumoured to still wander the hall grounds as part of a penance dating from the Crusades.

The theatre company team will be working with young people from Abraham Guest, Golborne, the Deanery and St Mary’s high schools on the piece. Each school will be given a different part of the hall’s history to portray.

Martin said:

“We will be hosting a number of taster sessions and workshops with the schools to get the young people thinking about what the production should include and what form it will take.

“We are hoping it will be a promenade–style piece which will be performed in the open air during the summer months. The children will be involved in the creative process every step of the way from the research, to the script through to starring in the performance itself.

“This is a really exciting event for everyone involved and forms part of the theatre company’s ongoing outreach work with the community.”

As well as the performance, the grant will help fund a permanent exhibition charting the history of the hall for visitors to enjoy.

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