New production aims to build on 2012 success

Actors from the November Club preparing for their show 'Operation Pied Piper' at Wallington Hall which uncovers hidden stories at the house during the Second World War.  Joy Sanders who plays Lady Mary Trevelyan welcomes Charlotte Sisson who plays school teacher Miss Skipsey.  GM016405
Actors from the November Club preparing for their show 'Operation Pied Piper' at Wallington Hall which uncovers hidden stories at the house during the Second World War. Joy Sanders who plays Lady Mary Trevelyan welcomes Charlotte Sisson who plays school teacher Miss Skipsey. GM016405

AN award-winning performance group is returning to a county tourist attraction to once again bring its hidden history to life.

November Club is currently preparing its latest commission from National Trust, which will take place at Wallington in September, and the box office has now gone live.

Operation Pied Piper looks back to 1939 and the start of World War Two when more than 100 girls were sent from Elswick Road School in Newcastle to the estate.

In just two days, Lady Mary Trevelyan and her staff packed away the china, rolled up the carpets, hid the silverware and turned the hall into a centre for evacuees. For some, it was an idyllic time, while others dubbed Wallington as Cambo’s own ‘concentration camp’.

The promenade production will delve even deeper into Wallington’s history and is based on the memories of the evacuees sent there, the diaries of Lady Mary Trevelyan and the letters of a couple wrenched apart by war.

“The theme of Operation Pied Piper is separation,” said November Club’s creative director Cinzia Hardy.

“Operation Pied Piper is the name the wartime government gave to its evacuation programme, but it also evokes the fairytale of the Pied Piper and we will be weaving some very unexpected stories in our performance this year.

“It will be very different to last year, but just as intriguing and memorable.”

Joy Sanders, who was involved in last year’s Wallington production in a different role, is playing Lady Mary Trevelyan.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be back. One of the nicest things that happens when we are here is that people come up and tell us their memories and their stories, which are so interesting to hear.”

Its Wallington production in 2012, Teacups, Zebras and Dancing Kaisers, gave audiences an insight into how the Trevelyan family lived at the estate in the early 1900s. It received a positive reaction and won the prestigious National Trust Bringing Places to Life Award.

This performance will run each evening from September 12 to 26 and each one is limited to just 20 people.

More information and ticket details are available from the box office page of the group’s website – www.novemberclub.org.uk/ operation-pied-piper