The Cauld Lad of Hylton Castle

Mark and two fellow Drama Direct practitioners, John Baxter (Theatre) and Ed Thomas (Film) have just returned from a wonderful week producing a brand new play, ‘The Cauld lad of Hylton Castle’ with thirty students ranging from 10-15 years of age at Monkwearmouth School, Sunderland. The project was at the invitation of Community Arts Officer, Sue Charnley, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything went smoothly during the residency.

Drama Direct commissioned TV writer Colin Swash to write the script, which recounts the story of the murder of a stable boy Roger Skelton in the early 17th Century by his master Lord Robert Hylton (who then bribed his way to a not guilty verdict) which caused the subsequent haunting of Hylton Castle by the ghost of young Roger, whose plaintive cry, ‘I’m cauld, I’m cauld has been heard regularly in the castle grounds down through the centuries.

The final performance incorporated filmed scenes which were shot inside Hylton castle itself. This was made possible by English Heritage, who kindly granted Drama Direct access to the impressive local monument. We would like to thank them for their help and support. Mark and Ed Thomas were responsible for the filmed sequences with Mark directing the four principal characters and Ed behind the camera, while John directed the staged live scenes with the remaining 22 members of the cast. The filmed sequences were then edited and completed by Ed while Mark joined John back at the school.

All three were full of praise for the dedication of the students and the back stage crew, who assisted throughout the week to produce a piece of theatre which will long live in the memory of all who saw it and participated in it.

Drama Direct would like to say a huge thanks to everyone at Monkwearmouth who made it possible, especially Sue Charnley, Dianne Hubbard, Michelle Cowie, Alyson Turner, Karen Moan, Hope Charnley, Val Shield, Simon Charnley and Sara Hills. Let’s hope that we can all work together again sometime in the future. A gallery of pictures, which may be downloaded, is available here and a DVD of the performance will be available from Sue Charnley in the new school year.

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