New play about prejudice in a rural community comes to Skirwith

A brilliant new drama set in a rural village will explore what it means to belong and to judge others at Skirwith Village Hall

Jacaranda, by multi award-winning playwright Lorna French,will take the audience on a journey of love, loss and belonging, as two unlikely strangers are brought together on a night that will change their lives forever on Friday 19thNovember.

The performance by Pentabus Theatre Company, is part of the Rural Highlights Touring Scheme, and sees twocharacters find themselves beside a stream on the longest night of the year. Olivia has recently moved into her grandfather’s farmhouse. She’s not local, but she knows her way around. Matty is a gamekeeper, but he doesn’t often tell anyone. He’s wary of newcomers. 

‘Sometimes it feels so exposing just walking in the village. I told Jimmy to ignore it at first, he tried to, but it’s isolating he said, eyes on you, not a word spoken. Even when you meet their eyes they don’t look away. Like they have a right to, like you’re a spectacle, an object.’ 

The two characters challenge and question themselves and one another as Jacarandaexplores the wider experience of a black woman living in the countryside and the unstable position of gamekeepers in our society. 

Highlights Rural Touring Scheme works with grassroots volunteers from over 65 village halls and community venues across the North of England to bring vibrant, entertaining and 

thought-provoking performances and live events to the heart of rural communities.  

Kate Lynch, Director at Highlights says: 

“We are so thrilled to bring not only a high quality theatre performance but also one which reflects the rural present-day experience to an audience which can relate to it. This is an opportunity to see world-class theatre in the very communities on which it is based.”

Skirwith Village Hall is delighted to be able to host Highlights shows once more. The next show will be Desert Island Discs by Spilt Milk Dance on Thursday 2nd December.

Pentabus are an award-winning theatre company based in rural Shrophire. They tour new plays about the contemporary rural world telling stories with local relevance, and wider national and international impact to village halls and theatres across the UK.The Telegraph describes them as, ‘One of the most important theatre companies in the country’.

Writer Lorna French is a two-time winner of the Alfred Fagon Award for the best new play by a Black playwright of African or Caribbean descent living in the United Kingdom. She is part of a new wave of diverse theatre-makers and playwrights who are bringing new work and new voices to rural theatre.

This performance is only one of many unmissable live events taking place in village halls and community venues across County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland as part of the Highlights Autumn programme. Visit the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme website for the full programme at

All performances will adhere to the latest government Covid-19 guidelines. Wherever possible please book tickets online through Highlights.

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