Grants That Work – The Roses of Eyam Project
The Hall Family Fund, which supports activity in rural communities, provided £1,000 to support the promenade production of ‘Roses of Eyam’, which was performed across the village of Eyam over 5 nights in 2015.
This special event marked the 350th Anniversary of the Plague reaching the village and the villager’s subsequent quarantine, which resulted in a third of the population dying. This historical event is part of our County’s rich heritage but the performance could not have happened without a small injection of financial support to bring the activity to life.
The performance involved some 75 children and adults from the village and 20 crew. The “stage” is the village street and involves the original plague cottages. Cast use the cottages, leaning out of windows and coming in and out of doors as well as moving the audience along the street with the action of the play.
Between 700 to 800 people watched the performances over the one week in summer
Every part was gifted to local community residents; so much of the cast had little or no acting experience. But the use of the local residents created something very special – there was a resonance about the performances which left all involved deeply moved by the re-enactment. There was also a collective sense of pride in the community living and working in Eyam today and this project created a wealth of positive memories.
“It is really important that this tragic tale, that is part of our Derbyshire and UK history, is not forgotten” – audience member
“We were struck by how brilliant this must be for community spirit” – audience member
“I think it’s a fantastic idea for both the adults and children alike to develop their confidence, acting skills and make new friends at the same time” – mum of a local pupil involved in the play
“I’m just writing to let you know how very much our family (age range 83 years to 10 years) enjoyed the ‘Roses’. We came away feeling we’d had a real insight into the local history, it’s an evening we will remember for a very long time” – audience member