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Theatre and Arts

China Clay workings

Kettleboys And Captains

A new play, which premieres in St Austell in May, remembers the glory days of the China Clay Industry in mid Cornwall. See a photo gallery, and listen to our interviews.

The surrounding villages of St Austell in mid Cornwall are home to the China Clay industry.

Places like St Dennis, Nanpean and Foxhole have been home to generations of clay workers. But many other places have since disappeared in time.

A new play, written by Cornish playwright Rod Tinson, aims to uncover the rich history of China Clay, and the many stories associated with the glory days of the industry.

Cast members
Some of the student cast

The enormous tips heaped by today's modern machinery conceal the buried chapels, schools and villages of the past.

Kettleboys and Captains explores the stories that lie buried beneath those tips.

The idea came from Steve Dowrick, the Curriculum Area Manager for Acting at Cornwall College St Austell. Several generations of his family worked in the China Clay industry.

Click on the link below to hear Matt Shepherd's interview with Steve Dowrick:

audio Steve Dowrick interview >
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For Rod Tinson, writing the play has been a labour of love, but also a time to learn more about the area he lives in.

Click on the link below to hear Matt Shepherd's interview with Rod Tinson:

audio Rod Tinson interview >
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The play incorporates acting, dancing and locally produced music. On the performance nights in May, some of the score will be performed by the Mount Charles Band.

It features final year Dance students and first year Acting students from the Performing Arts department’s highly successful National Diploma courses.

Click on the link below to hear from some of the Dance students taking part:

audio Hear some of the dancers' comments >
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The China Clay Country Park in St Austell is a museum crammed full of information about the industry's past. Click on the link below to enjoy some of the historical pictures from the museum and find out more about the attraction:

The play will take place at The Keay Theatre, which was built on land which housed the famous John Keay House. For many years this was the hub of all China Clay activity.

Essential Information

Venue: The Keay Theatre, St Austell
Dates: Date: Wednesday, 23 May and Thursday 24 May 2007
From: 19:30  To: 21:45
Ticket prices: Tickets £5 full/ £3 concessions
Box Office: 01726 226777

last updated: 07/05/07
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