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Pioneer Blackburn film-makers celebrated on stage
TWO Lancashire theatres are staging a play centred on the lives of a pair of legendary Blackburn film-makers.
The Life and Times of Mitchell and Kenyon, penned by playwright and screenwriter Daragh Carville, celebrates the careers of the Lancashire icons.
Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon founded their firm in 1897. Under the trade name of Norden, the company was one of the largest film producers in the United Kingdom in the 1900s, and used slogans including ‘Local Films For Local People’ and ‘We Take Them and Make Them’.
The play is currently impressing audiences in Lancaster and Oldham but Mr Carville said: “I would love to take the play to Blackburn. I’m so proud of the film-maker’s roots.
“I’m from Northern Ireland but moved to Lancaster with my wife, and have been proud to write something about Lancashire, my adopted home.
“Mitchell and Kenyon were real innovators of their time, and we’ve kept the play true to them and are using cutting-edge projection in the production.
“There’s very little known about the actual people, so I let my imagination go, using the snippets we do know about them. It’s a real family show.”
The pair operated initially from their respective business premises at 40 Northgate and 21 King Street in Blackburn, recording everyday life in Lancashire at the turn of the century.
Directed by Blackburn native Amy Leach, the theatre production promises to take audiences back to the past by encompassing the spirit of the music hall, full of songs, laughter and the original films themselves. It runs at The Dukes, Lancaster until May 10 before moving to Oldham’s Coliseum from May 15 to 31.
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