More successes

We’ve started the folktale filming project. For readers who didn’t see the relevant blog a few weeks ago, Tim Knebel of Peak in the Past and I have secured a grant to enable us to make films of folktales originating from South West Peak, which were under-represented in my 2011 collection Folktales of the Peak District. Tim and I have agreed to divide the work into ‘short narratives’, which I can tell on camera in the appropriate location, and ‘long narratives’ involving some re-enactments by children and others in the local communities, with me telling the story more or less in the background. For logistical reasons we can’t start on the ‘long narrative’ section for a few months, so we’re focusing on the ‘short narratives’.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of setting out into South West Peak with two young, confident and capable cameramen to make the first attempt at recording. We took advantage of what so far has been a blazing hot summer, driving and walking around the dry but still beautiful landscape under a cloudless blue sky and deploying cameras and microphone in the appropriate locations. Bobby and Danny were good company and obviously keen to do the best job. A couple of days later, Bobby contacted me to say that the films were of satisfactory quality but the sound recording was spoiled by wind noise, though we’d sought shelter from the (admittedly strongish) breeze. It was a little disappointing, but all being well we’ll have another shot this weekend and make sure we record the sound in a wind-free environment. As Bobby said, it’s a learning experience for them. For me, too!

The week of the annual Partington Theatre One Act Play Festival has just finished, and my Forget it, it’s History was performed on the Tuesday evening (10th July). This play calls for two female actors aged around fifty, and my good friends Carol and Patsy took on the roles. For anyone who doesn’t know the piece, which is published by StageScripts, the story revolves around a brilliant scientist whose Nobel-winning discovery was stolen by a so-called friend, leaving her accused of fabricating her data. Later, she takes revenge, but her life falls apart… and then, years later, she has a visitor who unpicks all the details of her the past she wants to forget. The visitor therefore drives the story so she’s performed by the ‘lead actress’, while the complex and conflicted former scientist whose past is being dissected is performed by the ‘supporting actress’ – though the latter role is central to the story and very demanding because of the mixture of emotions to be conveyed.

At the final adjudication on Saturday evening, Patsy was one of the three women nominated for Best Lead Actress (sixteen plays had been performed during the week), and Carol received the Best Supporting Actress award. Naturally they were both delighted, and so was I; they’d brought my play to life and their achievement had been officially recognised.

What better present could I have had on my birthday? 


  • Anne Mulkeen Murray 18.07.2018 - 16:01pm

    Hi Mark, That is excellent news. A great way to share old tales and stories in the digital age.

  • Brilliant, Mark. I have always really enjoyed your Tales of the Peak District. You also have a good personality and voice. Way to go, Mark. Please send my regards to Tim.

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