During the winter of 2011-2012, Weardale, England, was the setting for an ambitious informal adult education project. In this rural area in the northeast part of the country, the local arts collective, Jack Drum Arts, established a community play project entitled The Bonny Moorhen. This dramatic undertaking aimed to retell the story of the infamous Battle of Stanhope, a local lead miners’ uprising. The project took place in a converted barn and involved a group of sixty learners of all ages and from all walks of life. The troupe formed the choir, band, backstage crew, and company of actors who, with the support of professional artists, built a temporary theater space. Each member of this collective made a personal journey. Here Helen Mills and Alan Anderson, in association with Julie Ward, cofounder and project producer at Jack Drum Arts, offer their personal testimonies from the project.

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