Creating Miss Nobodies, a new commission from Spot On


Who am I?

Hello, my name is Ruth and I am a writer, comedian and performance artist. I have worked all over the world performing, creating work and educating. I come from Blackpool, Lancashire. I personally think it is one of the best places in the world.

Previously I have written a show about Blackpool called Love Letters from Blackpool, which went on an Urban and Rural tour of the UK. One of the touring networks I worked with was Spot On Lancashire and it is because of Spot On I am now writing this blog.

What am I doing?

I have been commissioned by Spot On Lancashire to create a piece of touring theatre inspired by women’s voices in the Lancashire town of Great Harwood.

Click here for more information about the commission.

How am I doing it?

I have been asked to create this show by organising outreach activities, engaging with local businesses plus my own experiences of living and growing up in Lancashire. It will be a funny, interesting, theatre show that will premier at Great Harwood Library and then go onto tour round libraries and venues all over Lancashire and then the rest of the country.

What has been an inspiration?

I went to see a work in progress showing of a performance piece by The Pendle Radicals. It was great performance and very inspiring.

The show was about Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, a show about her life and her work. I had never heard of this person before and was fascinated so began to read and was inspired by her resilience and passion.

Her first novel was called Miss Nobody. Hence the name of my show. It follows an independent young woman and her journey through her working life. It was the first novel to be published by a working-class woman in the UK.

Ethel was from Lancashire, worked in mills from the age of 11 and still manged to create poetry, novels, newspaper articles and be a very prolific activist. Despite all this her novels and work are largely forgotten.

This brought me to the assertion that Lancashire women are fierce and that their voices need to be heard. Women’s voices have been ignored or silenced over the years; therefore, I plan to give voice to the many Miss Nobodies in Lancashire.

At first…

The commission is to focus on Great Harwoods female led businesses’, shop keepers and owners and community members. Great Harwood has a strong history of female independence and more recently the local economy has been boosted by female entrepreneurs. Therefore, stories and material are to be generated by talking to and working with these influential women.

However, …

It is impossible to ignore the current situation regarding the Covid-19 outbreak and our towns and communities will feel the effects of this, I’m sure, for quite some time. Therefore, the shows direction must be influenced by this.

There is now an added layer of interested in isolation and community spirit. Recent events have forced us to come together, whilst staying apart, and I would really like the show to explore this.

Would you like to help me?

I am still trying to work out what question I need to answer with this show.

Is it…?

What makes home?

What makes a community?

How do we come together to celebrate?

How do we make communities thrive?

What are the effects of isolation on a town/economy?

WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WANT ANSWERING?

I’d l love to hear the stories, local knowledge, recipes, histories, funny sayings etc that make up the town.

I’d also like advice on where the best pub is in Great Harwood!

Once lock down has been lifted and it is safe to travel, I shall be visiting Great Harwood and the local area to talk to people, drink with people, eat at the local restaurants and cafés.

If there is anything/anyone you think I should visit then please let me know. There’s a contact form on my home page.

Also subscribe to my mailing list to find out when the show is touring to a town near you.

Here’s a clip from my previous show just in case you’re interested.

Previously I have worked on projects with Spot On for their Hit the North Commission.

For examples of some of my previous work take a look here.

Keep a look out for more blog posts about the progress of the show and how you can help create something really fun.

I would like to say a big thank you to Spot On and the community of Great Harwood for giving me this opportunity to create something that I hope will be a tonic after all this isolation.

#writing #greatharwood #lancashire #industrial #performanceart #comedy #poetry #spoton #ruraltouring #touring #travel #community #rural #commission

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