Thursday, 24 November 2016

Former Corrie star makes The Dukes a port of call for special maritime heritage project

Julie Hesmondhalgh
A former Coronation Street favourite is among a cast bringing Lancaster’s maritime heritage to life in audio dramas launched on Friday 2nd December.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, who played Hayley Cropper in the popular soap, joins seven other actors in Port Stories, an exciting new Dukes project which recently received Heritage Lottery Fund support.

Four unique audio dramas have been produced using the talents of celebrated historians and awardwinning writers.

The dramas are embedded at historic sites mainly around St George’s Quay and Castle Park in Lancaster and from Friday 2nd December, a map will be available to download from the Dukes web site to experience a walking tour with a difference.

Although it’s recommended to enjoy these dramas as a journey around Lancaster’s heritage sites, they can also be listened to at home, streamed from The Dukes website.

Julie performs in a drama called Black Mary, based on a local legend at the time of Lancaster’s slave trade. It’s about a family who apparently kept the hand of one of their slaves to pass down through the generations.

The slave trade is also the background to A History of Violence (age guidance 14 plus). This drama, also by James Harker, is best heard at the Slavery Memorial on St George’s Quay and explains how slavery continued to have a lasting impact on British society long after it was abolished.

The final two audio dramas are 1698 Parts 1 & 2 by May Sumbwanyambe which are based on the autobiography of well known Lancastrian Quaker William Stout, who went from shopkeeping to international trade. David Crellin, who recently appeared in The Dukes production of The Ockerbys on Ice, plays Stout.

Image courtesy Lancaster Maritime Musuem
The Port Stories audio dramas will be officially launched at 1.00pm on Friday 2nd December in the Print Room Café and Bar at The Storey where visitors can find out more and get instructions on how to take part. At 6.00pm, hear first-hand from the creative team and historians at the talkback event in The Storey Lecture Theatre.

Port Stories has involved professional historians Sam Riches, Andrew White, Mike Winstanley and community historians, including some from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds. Local schools are also creating learning resources for Key Stage 2 and 3 and all material will be deposited with Lancashire Archives.

The project also aims to increase awareness of the importance of Lancaster’s built heritage and museum collections at a time when the county’s museums are under threat.

Port Stories is a Dukes led partnership with the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster Museums Service and Global Link.

• The Port Stories community programme runs until March 2017. If you would like to get involved, email portstories.dukes@gmail.com

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