100,000 people engaged
“Heritage is what you take from the past and give to the future.”
We’re passionate about connecting people with their national, local and personal heritage. From mining history to modern relevance, we have produced exhibitions and touring events on a range of heritage topics, inspiring and engaging thousands of people.
Our work in heritage covers a wide range of subject matters, but of particular importance for people in our region and local communities is Remembrance, Industrial Heritage and Local Unsung Heroes. Our heritage projects focus on these three areas.
Over the years we have connected thousands of communities and individuals with the theme of Remembrance. An initial visit in 2011 to the National Arboretum inspired our team to create a ten year plan for ensuring we connected young people and their families, using an array of initiatives, activities and programmes to the theme of Remembrance. Over the years this has seen our company take from conception to delivery and performance, many events and touring performances to engage young with old and both with the legacy of conflict and sacrifice.
Our work led us to being personally invited to perform at The Menin Gate in Belgium to close the final Last Post of the 100 year commemorations in 2018. In its 100 year history, the commemoration at the Menin Gate, we were the first group to be allowed to perform their own original works.
Dame Patricia Hawkins-Windsor, MBE, Knight of the Order of Leopold II was delighted to welcome 45 young people we had brought to Belgium, to the Church of St George, Ipres. She said, “John McRae would have been moved so deeply that he would have said, ‘Thank you” – what he did and suffered was for the future of people like you.”
Whilst in Belgium we were invited to perform in a number of high profile commemorative events at multiple venues throughout the Ypres Salient. Including, The Menin Gate (Ypres), St George’s Memorial Church (Flanders Field), Cloth Hall (Ypres) and Talbot House (Ypres). In addition to the scheduled performances, our young people were also granted special permission to perform at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British and Commonwealth WW1 Memorial in the world.
A special honour was our young people singing ‘Silent Night’ on the very site where the Christmas Truce took place nearly 104 years earlier. This was an unforgettable and very unique experience and one which moved everyone who saw and heard it.
We have written commemorative productions, such as ‘Home Fires’, a WW1 musical written for young people, which received its inaugural performance in 2014 at Auckland Castle. Since this time, it has toured and has even been licensed for performance to other young groups across the country.
We have been a celebrated part of the annual Festival of Remembrance at Durham Cathedral (the largest commemoration outside London) for the past six years, including 2020, where it was entirely an online, streamed production.
Over the past ten years we have connected 8000 young people with Remembrance. Many of whom, have taken to banner and are helping other young people in their own communities.
Another theme is mining, which is relevant to the Durham area. This theme runs through local communities like a seam. It is also a powerful engagement theme for the work we have carried out in schools, communities, care homes, museums, etc. It continues to be a powerful theme we explore today and the production work now known as, The Wind Road Boys is central to the heritage and education work we carry out on this theme.
In 2012 during an educational workshop looking at the regions heritage we discovered that despite living in Durham many of the students attending the workshop did not know very much about their mining heritage. As a result, we decided to use the theme of mining as the inspiration for a performance project. In so doing, we hoped to reconnect our students with their forgotten heritage, but little did we know what a fantastic journey this would prove to be, providing inspirational conversations between young and old, uniting communities and reigniting pride in family history whilst developing a greater understanding of community roots.
This project initially enabled over 2000 young people to explore their mining heritage in their own families and communities and to discover and celebrate the lives of everyday men who kept our home fires burning and the women who despite difficult circumstances supported and embraced community life.
The professional production now known as The Wind Road Boys developed from local community based stories, coupled with factual research from our heritage team. It has now engaged over 50,000 people and has toured regionally and nationally, selling out every performance of its 10 day run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Young people in a public community performance (bringing characters to life) at a former coal mine, now Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland.
Legacy of the future
Over a number of years we have secured funding from The Heritage Lottery to enable us to keep heritage themes alive in the consciousness of school children, youth groups and their families. At the forefront of our work is the old mining adage, “You Inherit the Past; You Build the Future.” As an organisation, we are passionate about ensuring that heritage is not just about remembering what has gone, but about preserving history in positive modern action. For us heritage is not what you leave in the past, but what you take to the future.
Our aim is to continue to examine different aspects of community heritage (inclusiveness, diversity, etc) to give communities and in particular young people a sense of belonging and a positive direction for their aspirations.
Our heritage projects have engaged thousands of young people to date. We have provided a few web links below to a few of our heritage projects.
Local Unsung Heroes
A few of the young people we engaged in Settle North, pictured with John Cornish, son of painter Norman Cornish (who was inspired by unsung local hero, Bill Farrell) at our event in Beamish Museum.
Making Heritage Accessible To All
“If you teach them, they will remember.”
When Yesterday Was Young
Mining heritage told through the eyes of a modern cautionary tale. Not only the plight of families, but, in particular the effect on children in mining communities.
We engaged a local sculptor to turn our entire venue into an underground mine. Local and regional stories, characters and anecdotes, garnered from retired Durham miners and their families, populated this live and interactive experience.
An exhibition of original artefacts complemented the live experience.
Visit the When Yesterday Was Young website by clicking the image below.
Working with thousands of children from across the Hartlepool Education Authority, we took over the Hartlepool Borough Hall and staged one of the biggest community events in its history.
Honoured culminated in a performance at Hartlepool Borough Hall, but other venues included Heugh Battery Museum and local landmarks. The sister project to this was The Ypres Salient Tour, under the banner of ‘Over the Wire‘, a funded heritage project.
The almost unknown Bill Farrell was brought to life to show how an insignificant person in history can have a broad and lasting impact on the world. He was a man passionate about making the small people in communities stand out.
Bill Farrell and his wife Betty spearheaded a campaign that saw the boys Norman Cornish and Sid Chaplin show the world what life was like in our little corner of the world. It was important for young people living in disadvantaged communities were able to identify with this project. Visit the Settle North website by clicking the image below.
The Ypres Salient Performance and Heritage Tour
Marking the 100th anniversary of WW1, we introduced young people to the sacrifices of their historical peers. Included a tour of the Ypres Salient, Belgium, performing at and visiting:
The Menin Gate | Cloth Hall | Talbot House | Tyne Cot | Ploegsteert | Messines | The Christmas Truce Field | Essex Farm/Flanders Field | St George’s Church | Lijssenthoek | Langemark | Poperinge
Some short Remembrance videos, created by us to promote Remembrance to the community.
"John McRae would have been moved so deeply that he would have said, ‘Thank you” – what he did and suffered was for the future of people like you."
Dame Patricia Hawkins-Windsor, MBE, Knight of the Order of Leopold II
"At last night's meeting of the Armed Forces Liaison Group, members from several of the ex Service associations praised the Honoured Project event that you organised in Hartlepool. Please pass on our thanks and appreciation to all those involved in staging this excellent event. "
"Thank you Enter CIC for your amazing performance at the Festival of Remembrance. We have had so much positive feedback already, and such an appropriate Act of Remembrance.
Lieutenant Colonel Barney Barnbrook
Regional Director North East and Yorkshire | ABF The Soldiers’ Charity