“Number 17”

Number 17 – a hundred year history of a Borrowash house. Chrissie’s commission was to write a play using every ‘custodian’ who had lived at Number 17, an Edwardian Villa in Borrowash, to capture the social, economic and personal circumstances affecting families and individuals throughout the 100 year history of the house.

The script was written using information from interviews with Borrowash residents facilitated by volunteers working with www.unexaminedlives.org, Genealagist Keith Oseman, Theatre professional Julina Hanby, Anthony Fearnley, Derby University, Poet Dave Wood, and was performed by the children of Ashbrook Junior School Borrowash. The production was administered by Wash Arts CIC with funding provided by The Heritage Lottery.

Chrissie was surprised when she discovered that one of the ‘Lives’ serialised in ‘The Derby Telegraph Bygones’ as part of the ‘ Unexamined Lives’ Heritage Lottery project, was that of Jessie Webster, a former resident of 17, Princess Drive, Borrowash – No. 17 was her first marital home!

Chrissie joined the ‘Unexamined Lives’ team under the aegis of Wash Arts and gathered more information about No. 17. Her ‘Number 17’ script will capture the history of the house and its custodians from the original builder, Alonzo Cheetham of Borrowash, to the current residents, stories spanning the entire 20th century – and part of the 21st century.

It will provide a unique history of the social and economic changes of the last century as experienced by people living, working and visiting No. 17 mapped via changing architectural features, fashions, finances, work, life, loves and tragedies of the adults and children for whom ‘Number 17’ has been a business investment, a workplace, a welcome refuge in troubled times, a playground, a DIY project and a much loved home.

The performance will be directed by Julian Hanby and involves a collaboration between a local primary school, Chrissie and Wash Arts colleagues , with research input from genealogist Keith Oseman and students from The University of Derby, bringing together their expertise and experience to research, develop, create ‘Number 17’ a performance piece for children bringing to life the history of this lovely Edwardian villa.