SOCIAL HISTORY: The cast of A Way Home pictured during rehearsals
SOCIAL HISTORY: The cast of A Way Home pictured during rehearsals

A BRAND new play which centres on a piece of County Durham social history from the middle of the 20th century is coming to Barnard Castle’s arts centre.

A Way Home will be staged at The Witham on Wednesday, June 8.

From the pen of playwright Christina Castling, A Way Home is based on the stories and memories of the people lived in County Durham's so-called D villages.

The play is based in 1951 when a third of County Durham’s villages were classified as ‘D’ which mean they were no longer deemed worthy of investment.

Government officials expected these communities to quietly fade away – but they refused to go without a fight.

Ms Castling said: “As someone who has spent the last 16 years living in County Durham, I was shocked when I first came across the story of category ‘D’ villages and the huge impact this town planning decision had on the communities in a place I now call home.

“I spent four years researching and working with community members across County Durham, capturing their stories, inviting them into the rehearsal room and using their feedback to help shape the play.

“In January 2019 an early draft of the play was shared with an invited audience. The response was overwhelming.”

The play was originally due to take to the stage in June 2020 was put on hold due to the pandemic.

Ms Castling added: “Nearly two years on we’re really excited about bringing this emotive tale of what it’s like to find yourself fighting to be heard when no one is listening, of holding on to the past and of finding a place to belong, something we feel is just as relevant now as it was 60 years ago.”

Tickets are £12 and £10 available from The Witham box office on 01833 631107 or online at /event/a-way-home.