This project involved Durham University Special Collections working with Saint Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Bishop Auckland
The children were divided into six groups and took the parts of ‘evacuees’ from six periods of history that described the development of Bishop Auckland from Roman times to the present day.
Working with their teachers and archivists from Durham University Special Collections, each child created their own character from history, using a piece of archive material as their starting point. Through these characters, the children celebrated the heroes from these periods, from the Romans to the West Auckland team that won the first football World Cup in 1909. Sometimes the people were famous, sometimes unknown, but all were heroes because they contributed to creating the town as it is today.
Each group carried out research, helped make costumes and created artefacts associated with their historical period, such as a Roman sword or a miner’s lamp.
The children also made and decorated “memory boxes” in which they could store their work and copies of reference documents.
The drama vignettes created by each of the groups were brought together for a final performance in the school hall, linked by a single narrator, in front of an audience of staff, parents and friends.
The drama was directed by drama specialist Richard Bliss.