A preview performance of ‘Miss Nobodies’ by Ruth Cockburn

Something a little different tonight… my daughter and I were lucky to watch a live digital preview of this new play.

One of the things that our family has really enjoyed throughout the last year has been being able to watch live theatre in our own home. It turns out that my children are not just impressed by CGI and big-name actors, but actually appreciate a good plot and realistic dialogue. When I heard that ‘Miss Nobodies’ was set in my hometown of Great Harwood, I was keen to see what it was all about.

Inspired by Ethel Carrie Holdsworth – the first working class female novelist in the UK – this play celebrates Lancashire towns and the women who live there.

We welcome you to the Great Erewhon town meeting. A small (fictional) town in Lancashire, much like any other. This town meeting will take you on a little journey through life and Lancashire and drop you off right where you began.

We were a little bemused at first, as we were plunged into the middle of what appeared to be a Zoom-hosted Town Council meeting. We were soon giggling though – as a teacher and a nine year-old, we are both well-versed in disastrous online meet-ups. I’m not going to spoil anything, because that’s just not fair, but the references to a certain Jackie Weaver were very timely.

The Zoom meeting was interspersed by videos of terraced houses in Lancashire towns and poetry. The play is based on my hometown of Great Harwood, where Ethel Carrie Holdsworth grew up, and the videos added visual interest to the poetry, although it’s a shame that they weren’t all of places that we recognised.

The Zoom meeting sections form the main narrative of the play, with Sophie (Ruth Cockburn) providing us with interesting vignettes of characters and anecdotes. As we found out in the chat at the end of the performance, Cockburn has spent time chatting to people in the town recently, and she certainly managed to capture many aspects of the town in tonight’s preview.

The tragedy of anyone’s life is never what happens to them but what fails to happen.’

Overall, this was not what I was expecting, but we both enjoyed it.

Miss Nobodies will be touring around the country in October 2021 with a first live performance at Great Harwood library. It is commissioned by Spot On Lancashire , in partnership with Super Slow Way and funded by Arts Council England. To find out more, or book tickets, go to http://www.ruthcockburn.co.uk

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