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Witch is True?!

By Huckleberry Films, Oct 31 2012 11:00AM

Lancashire’s Lost Legends: Witch is True?! is a project exploring the myths and facts around the story of the Pendle Witch Trials led by young people in the Ribble Valley and Pendle. It has been commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts in collaboration with Lancashire Museums, St Augustine’s RC High School and Marsden Heights Community College; and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We've been commisioned alongside other artists to work on the project, and that's why we found ourselves in a rural camping barn with no electricity... on a very windy eerie Hallowe'en afternoon, overlooking Pendle Hill.

It was the first time that the young people from both schools had met, and some were a little quiet at first.... but once creative facilitator Steve Fairclough started to work with them, the barriers seemed to start falling. They started off with some ice breaker games, and moved on to looking at the Pendle Witch (hi)stories.

After discussing what they already knew about the stories and sharing facts/myths... they split into smaller groups and each chose 3 scenes from the (hi)story to act out as a flash frame/freezing the action. This made the groups think about how to tell the story without using any words - and also helped them to bring the stories to life in a really visual way. Two of the girls helped to document by filming with a Flip camera. After some other activities it was time for food! There had been plans for a campfire, but it was just too windy and rainy to light the fire.... so Jaffa and the rest of the food team created an amazing (if somewhat gory) mega feast for the group downstairs in the barn.

After food and hot chocolate, a local story teller Christine McMahon came to work with the group. The barn was dark by now, and lit only by a few torches..... so the atmosphere was just right for spooky stories! She told lots of stories... some specific to the area , and one that told the Pendle Witch story from the little girl Jennets point of view. This was really powerful, and Christines dynamic and expressive storytelling style made it a really memorable and magical experience.

Really looking forward to seeing how the project develops over the next couple of months.....

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