Stewartstown drama to bring local history to life

Two young ladies make their way to Stuart Hall to enjoy an evening of music & drama
Two young ladies make their way to Stuart Hall to enjoy an evening of music & drama

STUART hall will be the unique setting of a drama that will bring you back in time to eighteenth Century Mid Ulster.

‘The Big House and the Fair’ is a drama with music, song and dance performed by members of the Stewartstown Dramatic Society. The production is set in the late 1700s, a prosperous era for both the gentry residing in the grand house and for the local townfolk.

The drama will recreate the setting of the thriving linen industry at the time and work to be found at the big house and on the estate. Fair day was a very important date for the people. It was an opportunity to hire workers to bring in the harvest, to sell goods, and to tout for business. Travelling musicians would entertain the crowds and the young people would gather to enjoy the music, to dance to the tune of the fiddle and maybe find themselves a husband or wife. Some yearned to leave these shores and emigrate to America whilst others were concerned that there were troubled days ahead.

The story of the Big House, the gentry and the fair day will be told through drama, music and dance by over 40 adult performers in period costume. The music and songs for the production have been taken from both the Scottish and Irish traditions with many having their origins in the late 1700s such as ‘The Skye Boat Song’ and ‘The Lark in the Clear Air’. Although the drama is based on events which actually occurred in the Stewartstown area at the time it could be equally representative of any small town in Ulster.

Stewartstown Amateur Dramatic Society is widely known for its sell-out annual pantomime in the Burnavon Theatre Cookstown. However, the opportunity to produce something different arose when the Earl and Countess Castle Stewart offered the grounds of Stuart hall as a venue. ‘The Big House and the Fair’ will take place in an outdoor covered area which was once the Rick Yard and will include supper of champ with cabbage and ham, served with pork and venison sausages with gravy. Tickets can be obtained from the Burnavon Theatre, Cookstown and are also on sale in Stewartstown from either Kelly’s Pharmacy or the Post Office.

Tickets, including supper are priced at £12 for adults and £5 for children. Performances will take place on Friday September 2 and Saturday September 3 at 7.30 pm. As spaces are limited it is advisable to book early.