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Series of short films aim to educate on Darwen’s rich and fascinating history

Three short films have been created to bring to life a town’s rich history.

Darwen theatre company, Beggars Belief Collective, have created a short series of historical films, called ‘Three Loud Knocks,’ for Darwen folk to watch and share with their friends and families.

These three entertaining and magical, short films are available to watch for free online now on YouTube and Facebook and are also being used by a number of Darwen primary schools for their summer term local history projects.

Inspired by Darwen’s rich heritage, and filmed in the town’s Carnegie Library, the films use puppetry, animation and storytelling to bring to life the story of Andrew Carnegie, India Mill Tower and Darwen Football Club’s near winning of The FA Cup in 1879.

Three Loud Knocks writer and founding member of Beggars Belief Collective, Nicola McRoy said: “I wanted to make something that showcased our historic town with the nostalgia, magic and charm of shows like Jackanory, Play School and Bagpuss.”

Written and filmed during the pandemic, Ms McRoy imagined the films as bringing generations of families together online.

She added: “History is all around us in Darwen – I love the town and it’s wonderful characters.

“There’s something for everyone in these films and I hope they inspire families to share their own stories across the generations.”

Alongside releasing the films for free online, they have been sent to primary schools across Blackburn and Darwen to aid with lessons on local history, British values and storytelling, arts and creativity.

The company’s schools engagement officer, Stephie Jessop, wanted to ‘show that creativity, storytelling, and theatre can be used to help engage children in all aspects of the curriculum’.

She said: “It was important to us that as well as being incredibly useful, the resources pack allowed children to engage with Darwen’s history in multiple ways.

“Whether that is drawing a map of their favourite local places, writing their own story or planning out a history project.”

Featuring an original soundtrack by Mark Melville and artwork by Darwen artist and sculptor Marjan Wouda, the films have proved to be a hit online with one Facebook viewer commenting: “Loved every minute…totally wonderful…terrific…brilliant…great storytelling…I can’t wait to see more.”

Three Loud Knocks, which was supported by Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Darwen Library Theatre, is available to watch online now on the Beggars Belief Collective Facebook page and Youtube channel.

Beggars Belief Collective are a theatre company and collective of artists based at Darwen Library Theatre.

They make art, theatre and films for their community, encouraging Darreners to embrace their creativity and celebrate where they live.

Specialising in making community-driven work, previous projects have included ‘A Call To Legs’ – a tap-dancing and art project for young people in Darwen, which was delivered over Zoom during the pandemic, and ‘T’Other’ – a theatre piece which explored the divides in the community and the fear of difference in which they are rooted.

For more information visit: beggarsbeliefcollective.co.uk/