Trip down memory lane as play is roughed out

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PEOPLE shared their memories of Wellingborough at discussion groups held to shape a play about the town.

The Castle theatre has commissioned playwright Deborah Gearing to write this year’s community production ‘Well...rough’. The title is based on signs on the way into the town which were defaced last year, with vandals blanking out part of the town’s name.

As part of Ms Gearing’s research she hosted story share sessions in Wellingborough this week. She met with people at Ye Golden Lion pub, volunteers at Wellingborough Museum, the Friendship Group at the Victoria Centre in Palk Road and Wellingborough councillor Shashi Dholakia.

Yesterday she met with local people who were associated with The Castle theatre to hear their memories of Wellingborough.

A total of seven people took part in the session and told stories about places including Wellingborough Zoo Park. They shared memories of animals kept there, which included a polar bear, penguins, snakes, a wallaby and a chimpanzee.

Cyril Hunter shared his memories, including his recollection of when a lion broke loose from its cage during a circus held at Castle Fields, as well as two significant fires in the town – one at the Whitworth Mill and another at St Barnabas Church. Mr Hunter said: “I enjoyed the session very much, I found it most interesting.”

Brian Leech spoke about his memories of Wellingborough being bombed in the early 1940s. He was walking with his aunt, uncle and sister and as the group turned into Midland Road from Castle Street, his uncle pushed him down as there was a big bang.

Mr Leech said he had enjoyed reminiscing with the group. He said: “It takes you back a long way. All we have got to do now is wait to see what the play is.”

Ms Gearing said: “It’s been absolutely fascinating. Each group is its own community. I have met some fantastic people and some people absolutely passionate about this town.”