New documentary films bring the magic of The Heart of the Wood to life

Audiences old and new can experience the magic of the joyful musical The Heart of the Wood through a collection of new videos celebrating Barnsley's wealth of talent.

Film-makers John Coombes and Jess James have produced a short documentary about the sell-out production. The show was seen by more than 900 people in a three-night run at the Dearne Playhouse in December.

The Heart of the Wood was supported by Barnsley Council and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. It was funded by the UK Government’s Towns Fund through the Goldthorpe Town Deal Board.

Theatre company The Big Reveal brought together more than 100 musicians, singers and dancers from Barnsley.

The production starred four young actors from the local area following an open casting call. Joe Easton, Quinn Plews, Maisie Boyd and Kira Powell shared the leading roles of brother and sister Jake and Megan.

The show saw Megan and Jake embarking on an adventure into the underground world where their grandad had been a miner.

It paid tribute to the Dearne’s mining heritage and offered a call to arms to protect the environment for future generations.

The new documentary features behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the production team and reaction from audience members. It can now be seen on the production’s website.

It also features full-length recordings of the show and performances by Barnsley Metropolitan Band and Thurnscoe Male Voice Choir.

The Big Reveal also held storytelling and art workshops with children at local schools. Pupils helped produced dozens of mutant rats which were displayed around the Dearne Playhouse.

The production showcased the Dearne Playhouse, formerly Goldthorpe Miners’ Welfare Hall. The Playhouse is being refurbished as part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Towns Fund programme. This aims to regenerate, renew and revitalise Goldthorpe and the wider Dearne.

Councillor Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “The Heart of the Wood was much more than a show. It was an unforgettable experience which celebrated the community spirit and talent of Barnsley and the Dearne.

“Its impact lives on through the amazing stories produced by our young people and these new films from the production team.

“I would encourage everyone to give them a watch. They really give a sense of the scale and wealth of creativity we have in our town, which we should all be proud of.”


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