Charity No: 260045

Great Pool of Talent for Dam Play

The Dam Play, The Playhouse, Pateley Bridge


This was a rare performance of a play about the building by Bradford Corporation , between 1889 and 1936, of the spectacular series of reservoirs in Nidderdale known as Gouthwaite, Angram and Scar, together with the extraordinarily ambitious Light Railway that serviced them.


The play had been written by Nevin Ward, who had been enthralled by the audacious vision of Bradford Corporation, and who also wrote several splendid songs to accompany the dramatic action.


In two parts, The Dam Play deals with the process by which Bradford Corporation managed, with the help of water engineer Alexander Binnie - later to become Sir Alexander, and to develop several famous schemes in London - to conceive, plan and complete a water scheme that deserves to be known as one of the seven wonders of the United Kingdom. Bradford's great rivalry with Leeds was often touched upon, and there were moments when I almost expected Harrogate's Alderman Fortune to stride onto the stage.


In part two, the lives of the workers were related with sensitivity, humour and skill, enlivened by solo songs and choruses. The play was presented by Pateley Bridge Dramatic Society, who provided a thoroughly entertaining evening in their delightfully intimate theatre.


Malcom Neesam


[this review appeared in the Harrogate Advertiser, Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald, etc, on 30 January 2009]

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