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Audio Walks Bring Tolkienís Childhood Haunts To Life

Audio Walks Bring Tolkienís Childhood Haunts To Life

13th June 2013


A new ‘audio walk’ inspired by some of the places that fired the imagination of The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien as a child will be launched on Sunday 16 June. 

Local writers Charlotte Goodwin and Kate Chapman, working with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, have created the audio walk around Birmingham Museums'  Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog, as part of the theatre’s ongoing Neighbourhood REP project with local libraries and will be available to listen to for free. 

With the story of an adventurous young boy at its heart, Light From The Shadows also features interviews with local people plus music by Derek Nisbet. It promises a magical audio experience and aims to open up visitors’ imaginations as they explore Moseley Bog.

JRR Tolkien grew up near Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and many of the locations and characters in his books were drawn from the local area. The Mill and the Bog continues to provide inspiration and escape for the many people that visit it today as writer Kate Chapman explains:

“We were inspired by many things during the process of creating Light From The Shadows. We worked with a group of cubs from Kings Heath who saw Moseley Bog as a place to build dens and invent stories. Other people we spoke to had been associated with the Bog for many years, fighting to save it and preserve it. There was a sense of timelessness, grandparents describing how their grandchildren played the same games in the Bog, they had done; it’s as inevitable as the seasons changing, or people falling in love.

“We decided that we didn’t want to make it an audio walk that was wholly ‘about Tolkien’ but we did incorporate some of his life experiences and some aspects of his relationship with his wife Edith, which is a beautiful love story. We hope people will see themselves and their own families in the audio journey.”

At the launch day of the audio walks on June 16 there will also be a programme of fun activities for all ages throughout the day. Visitors will be able to go bug hunting with experts from The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, create a magic wand, build a den, and investigate the pond wildlife.  There will also be the opportunity to sample a writing workshop and see free performances specially created for the day.

Light From the Shadows is a Birmingham Repertory Theatre Neighbourhood REP project in collaboration with Hall Green Library, The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, Sarehole Mill, and Cole Valley South District Scouts.  Neighbourhood REP is part of a two-year project which has seen The REP join forces with Birmingham City Council’s Library and Archive Services to bring theatre to the city’s libraries.

Light From the Shadows free fun day takes place at Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog on Sunday 16 June, 11am – 4pm. MP3 players will be available to borrow from the audio walk’s starting point, Sarehole Mill, on the day. To book a slot on the audio walk visit birmingham-rep.co.uk or call 0121 236 4455.  Walks take place every half hour and sensible footwear is advised.  

Sarehole Mill will also be open to visitors wanting to look inside one of only two working watermills in Birmingham (admission charges apply for Mill, grounds and courtyard are free).

Following the launch day Light From The Shadows audio walk can still be enjoyed by either borrowing an MP3 player from Sarehole Mill, Colebank Road, Birmingham B13 0BD (open Tues – Sun 12noon – 4pm, closed Monday, apart from Bank Holidays) or by downloading the audio guide from birmingham-rep.co.uk/lightfromtheshadows.

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