Extraordinary times and lives

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Todmorden writer and actress Joyce Branagh will bring her new show Boomtown Gals to Todmorden and Hebden Bridge this month.

Set during the First World War, this piece of work began life as a collaborative research project with the Arts Council, Oldham Libraries and Coliseum Theatre, spearheaded by Professor Alison Fell.

Alison is from Heptonstall and is the leader of the Legacies of War Project at the University of Leeds.

The play is based on local research into real-life women, weaving their historical exploits into one, fictional narrative as seen through the eyes of music hall comedienne, Sarah Rosebury, the ‘Lancashire Lass’.

Boomtown Gals takes a funny, awe-inspiring and fascinating journey around Europe in the company of such local women as Sarah Hallam a nurse awarded the Croix de Guerre for her bravery, Dr Catherine Payne, head surgeon at Oldham Royal Infirmary and stationed in Serbia during the Great War, philanthropist Dame Sarah Lees, only the second female mayor in Britain and the play reveals why Mabel Drinkwater’s name is featured on the Oldham War Memorial alongside the townsmen who died.

Boomtown Gals will be performed at the Hebden Bridge Little Theatre on Saturday September 10 at 7.30pm and at the Todmorden Hippodrome on Friday September 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 plus booking fee.

All details of dates, venues and how to book can be found at - www.joycebranagh.co.uk/Boomtown-Gals.html or you can call Oldham Library for more information on 0161 770 8000