Stanla’ Social Neet

Talented students from North Durham Academy and community groups from Stanley, County Durham, have joined forces with The Forge, a locally-based arts development agency to help create and perform a brand new play about life in Stanley.

Stanla’ Social Neet is set in a social club in Stanley and focuses on the highs and lows of life as it is experienced in the town today.  The new play, funded by Stanley Area Action Partnership,  was inspired by the pitman playwright Alexander Barrass’ work, The Pitman’s Social Neet which explored life in a 19th century pit community and was set in a Stanley pub.

The play’s writer and director, David Napthine, has been working closely with the students and members of PACT House and Just for Women, weaving together their fears, hopes and dreams into a new play.  This was performed by a small professional cast plus the students and community group members to packed audiences at Stanley Education Centre, the White Room Gallery and at North Durham Academy earlier this week.

Tony Harrington, Director of The Forge, was delighted with the response to the work produced.  “We are based in Stanley and the fact that Just for Women members and the North Durham Academy students contributed their ideas to the play, as well as performing in it, gives this new work an authenticity that no writer could achieve on his own, and I know that the writer, David Napthine, found this a rich and inspiring process. This project has been a key part of our Defiant Voices programme where we use the arts to celebrate and vocalise the often unheard voices of people in our communities.”

Angela Sweeten, Principal of North Durham Academy, said; ‘this was an amazing opportunity for some of our students to develop their skills by working with theatre professionals and helped them identify future career pathways in the arts.  As an Artsmark Platinum school, we are proud of the arts opportunities that we give to all of our students.    The themes that emerged from the play – about the impact of poverty and unemployment on young people’s dreams and ambitions – were hugely relevant to anyone working with young people in Stanley. We are immensely proud of our students’ input.”

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