On Saturday 1st December, there will be a concert of original songs, tunes and poetry at St Mary’s Church, Wreay.
The pieces are all inspired by local characters who feature in an exciting project by local artist, Dawn Hurton. Dawn, who formerly worked in the county’s archives, has produced an ‘alphabet’ of hand-crafted figures and automata-puppets, based on colourful characters from Penrith’s past. They were on show around the town over summer, along with their stories, in shops and public buildings. They include military figures, social reformers, eccentrics, notorious noblemen and forgotten people whose lives were coloured by poverty and the harshness of the law.
The array of songs and poems, written by the group of local artists, reflect this range of experience and include poignant, uplifting and at times comical pieces. The evening will also feature character readings from contemporary documents, including diaries. It is sure to be a good night and, for anyone whose interests include the arts and local history, it is one not to be missed.
What is more is that Wreay itself plays a notable part in the lives of at least two of the characters that inspired the songs and poems. The pioneering Sarah Losh was the architect of Wreay church in around 1840 and now rests in the graveyard there. William Graham, the poacher and folk singer, (of Longdales, Armathwaite) penned songs that were sung in the pub in Wreay until the 1950’s when a field recording was made of local singer, Len Irving, singing Graham’s Song ‘Lish Young Buy-a-Broom’. Graham himself was transported to Australia in the 1800s following a fatal affray with a gamekeeper!
Tickets and information are available from Bookends Bookshop, Castle Street, Carlisle or Adlib on King Street, Penrith and are priced at £5. However, it should be possible to pay on the door on the night too. The performance will begin from 7.30pm and all are welcome.