Farm play set to wow national audiences

A remote northern England farm forms the setting for an exciting new play which is about to embark on a national tour.

This “unexpectedly gritty backdrop” is the location of Twelve Miles From Nowhere, which aims to “merge the aspirations found in Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men with the northern sharpness and humour of Barry Hines’ Kes”.

It explores the impact on a vulnerable, isolated farming family of the arrival of an engaging young stranger.

“Rural people in Britain are largely forgotten when it comes to drama, literature and art,” says Kevin Dyer, one of its writers. “Plays don’t typically tell the stories of what happens in the countryside – all new work is urban.”

Historically, agriculture featured in books such as those by Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence, but it does far less so in contemporary works, Kevin points out. “Literature is all about well-to-do 30-somethings in London these days.”

Kevin partly drew inspiration from the many farmers he’s met over the years. “I’ve always been struck by their grit and determination. They simply wouldn’t be able to carry on otherwise.

“Ultimately, all drama is about worlds where things go wrong,” says Kevin. “But I’m a great believer in the strength of human beings – particularly those in the countryside.”

The team behind the play also listened to young people in Cheshire to understand the issues they faced – such as whether to leave their rural communities in favour of city life.

Twelve Miles from Nowhere was also influenced by Kevin’s father’s time working in agriculture – an experience that, Kevin reckons, stayed with him all his life. “He was a working class man who never had land. He went into the building trade, when he should have been a farmer.

“It’s important that we all feel the rain, look at the stars and feel the dirt under our fingernails. Hopefully, this play will take people to that – in their heads, if not physically.”

As for where the name came from? “At times we all feel twelve miles from nowhere – as if life is happening somewhere else,” he says.

The play (a scene from the pilot production of which is pictured above) is produced by Karen Simpson Productions (KSP), in association with Action Transport Theatre and Cheshire Rural Touring Arts.

See the tour schedule and watch the trailer below.

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