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Appeal for foot and mouth memories

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Appeal for foot and mouth memories

AN archive of memories and stories from Dumfries and Galloway is being created to commemorate 20 years since the Foot and Mouth crisis.

The new project is being run by theatre company and charity Wonder Fools and will involve the local community

Producer Jack Nurse, from Kirkcudbright, this week appealed for submissions from residents.

They will go into a digital archive, which will support a theatre production, And Then Come the Nightjars by Bea Roberts, taking place next spring.

And the group is also hosting a series of workshops this month and next for young people to get involved with the production and to learn new skills.

The stage play will explore the devastating impact of the foot-and- mouth crisis in 2001 and will be presented at Fullarton Theatre in early 2022 in collaboration with Crossmichael Drama Club.

It is described as ‘a gut-wrenching but heart-warming story about loss, friendship and, above all, a celebration of rural life and local heritage’. Originally set in Somerset, the play will be relocated to Dumfries and Galloway, one of the hardest hit areas of the epidemic aiming to reach audiences across the south of Scotland who suffered the disease’s ramifications.

Meanwhile, the new archive, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be launched online in late November and will feature sound recordings of interviews with local people as well as photographs of those interviewed. Interviews will be underscored by music composed by performance duo VanIves from Castle Douglas.

Photographs, videos, and written memories can also be submitted via their website.

Jack Nurse said: “As we work towards the production next year, we are creating a variety of ways for the local community to get involved in a meaningful and impactful way aside from the production itself. The archive will become a living piece of local history that can be accessed globally as a way of exploring what happened, how the community was affected and reflecting on how we can recover from this current pandemic.

“We’re looking for a range of perspectives, from vets and reporters to farmers and others working in agriculture, as well as residents of the region. All will help to tell the true stories behind the headlines and those being played out on stage. So, if you have a story to share then please do get in touch.”

To find out more, go to www.wonderfools.org/nightjars-archive