Testimonials

60 Miles by Road or Rail is a really brilliant play. Thought provoking, emotional, humorous and thoroughly entertaining. It is social history theatre at its best as it contemplates how an expanding town like Northampton changed dramatically over 50 years and the impact this change had on its people – both the bewildered indigenous Northamptonians and the new arrivals from London enticed by space, countryside and new housing. It was brilliantly written, produced, directed and acted and made my wife and I (both who came from the North to Northampton many years ago, left and came back) think and appreciate this eccentric old town, much abused by developers, town planners and politicians, just a little bit more than we ever have done. Bravo to all concerned, it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Audience Member

It was great being interviewed by Subika when she was researching how my family first settled in Northampton in the 1970s. My parents moved here from London where I was born along with my siblings. The interview process brought up some joyful memories along with some challenging memories too. Northampton is home and a great place to live! It has provided me with both stability and security throughout my life. I’ve traveled all over the world yet, Northampton is where I feel home. It’s rewarding and meaningful to review your life and experiences via an empathic and interested researcher/writer. Thank you!

Hometown Participant

Excellent resource, rich archive of an artistic place based performance of Northamptonshire from a dynamic theatre collective.

Dr Marcella Daye

We have all been touched and inspired by this project. We have been given the chance to express ourselves, share our knowledge and recollections, and perhaps for me most importantly, learned from each other. I like to think that the people who listen to our audio piece will gain a greater understanding of our collective ‘Hometown’ and also reflect on the town that they call home.

HOMETOWN PARTICIPANT

The excellent performance focused several hundred folk to think and reflect on their sense of place and relationship with their locale.

Audience Member

A subtly political, brilliantly satirical, movingly performed love letter to our hometown.

James Dacre, Artistic Director Royal & Derngate

Congratulations to everyone involved in this excellent play. Very well done, in every respect. We enjoyed it very much and wish it could have more performances to reach more people – but delighted to be part of a full house in the lovely Royal Theatre.

Audience Member

Big shout out to the 60 Miles teams for investing in local talent and demonstrating work can be created at scale with and for the local community. The Civic Duty of Theatre in action.

Christopher Elmer-Gorry, Artistic Director of Warts & All Theatre

A funny and intelligent take on the new town heritage of Northampton.

Audience Member

If you haven’t yet seen 60 Miles by Rail or Road I emplore you to do so! The performance this evening was a thrilling story of Northampton. It taught me so much and has made me fall in love with the town all over again!

Audience Member

Really loved 60 Miles last night at Royal & Derngate. The themes are SO relevant to Northampton today!

Laura Graham, The Happy Hood Founder

What a fabulous show this was, so much local talent in Northampton!

Audience Member

Very informative. Makes you think and appreciate the town and history. Fun for all ages. Well thought out with friendly staff.

Heritage Open Days Participant

This was so fun! Lovely to see what happened in Northampton before I was born! Fab!

Heritage Open Days Particiapnt

I enjoyed the experience to recall many first hand experiences through this expansion of Northampton from the eastern side of Northampton.

Oral History Interviewer

Stylistically, it felt very fresh and very new and it was making choices and decisions that I hadn’t seen on that stage before.

Audience Member

I was delighted to be part of this project and have the opportunity to meet people who were very involved with the eastern development. It is so important to record and preserve the wonderful memories and perceptions of how Northampton was impacted then and is still now to some extent.

Oral History Participant

Absolutely loved it. It was so nostalgic and relevant to any Northamptononian. You also managed to cover so many current issues whilst telling a story most people don’t know. I definitely had a little cry at the end. It was my partner’s first time in a theatre!

Audience Member

This was my work highlight of 2021. Listening to Chris was such a privilege and working with 60 Miles was a joy.

Oral History Interviewer
As a theatre collective, 60 miles by Road and Rail represents an inventive artistic community that has been reclaiming and reimagining the town of Northampton through their creative productions. Drawing on oral histories, photography and film, 60 miles by Road and Rail has centred, amplified and dramatised the voices of residents which have foregrounded and valorised the lived experiences of the community. Rooted in the heritage of place, they have cast their theatrical work with archival research, personal interviews, curated images and poetry which underpin their authenticity and impact. As storytellers of the Hometown of Northampton, their narration has exposed the cracks in place governance, leadership short-sightedness and planning malaise, but with the underlying message of a call for renewed vision, identity and hope, to create a vibrant location energised with a sense of identity and belonging. Through their place activism, they are actively challenging the positioning of Hometown Northampton as a mere overspill domicile site as a space to live, but beyond that to becoming a place to thrive. By engaging local stakeholders in generating meaningful and purposeful conversations and activities on reconfiguring Northampton’s reputation and envisioning empowering futures, 60 miles by Road and Rail is emerging from behind the scenes as a lodestar for Community Imagineering and Participatory Place Branding.
Dr Marcella Daye, University of Northampton
About

Arts, heritage and community activities in Northampton and Corby, championing our New Town stories.

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