Children take town’s history to the stage

Many of the Chantry and Newminster performers with Sue Dibben, left of the adult duo, and Bridget Gubbins.
Many of the Chantry and Newminster performers with Sue Dibben, left of the adult duo, and Bridget Gubbins.

Pupils from three Morpeth schools received standing ovations at the end of performances based on tales in Bridget Gubbins’ latest book The Conquest of Morpeth.

It is the first time that she has published for young readers and it is aimed at helping them learn more about the town’s history.

Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools and Technology Colleges and St Robert’s First School, which performed its play on Tuesday, were invited to participate in the Heritage Lottery-funded drama project.

Mrs Gubbins said: “I was overwhelmed by the magnificent interpretation of the stories in the book.

“From the terrifying devil masks and battle scenes to the unhappy Juliana obliged to marry Ranulph de Merlay and the poor village girl who had to work at the castle, the pupils made these stories about Morpeth’s history all their own.

“As a writer and researcher, seeing the stories being brought alive by these youngsters makes all the work worthwhile.”

A total of 130 students from Chantry and Newminster took part in their joint production, which was held a week last Thursday. The pupils used techniques learned in drama club this term.

With colourful illustrations by Sue Dibben, the book, priced £5, is available at The Chantry and local bookshops.