Nottingham Trent University students collaborate with Nottingham Castle ahead of its re-opening

Six final-year theatre design students have collaborated with Nottingham Castle to create historical CosProps for performances that showcase the stories of Nottingham’s forgotten rebels.

The collaboration comes as part of a partnership between students, the Nottingham Castle Trust and Television Workshop.

The performances, directed by Nic Harvey, were part of the “Ghosts” project and were the first performances to take place on the Castle’s grounds since its closure in 2018.

As part of their final year project, the students researched the rich history of the Castle and picked a character to base their performances on.

Student Manon Bailey-Rosse, 22, based her performance on Empress Matilda, the granddaughter of William the Conqueror, who was supposed to be the first Queen of England, but was persistently shunned because of her gender and the perceptions of gender roles at the time.

Ella Mitchinson performed the role of Empress Matilda designed by Manon Bailey-Rosse (Credit: Manon Bailey-Rosse)

Manon said: “The story had a message that I wanted to highlight as it’s very relatable in terms of being a woman and not fitting into a certain box of femininity.

“Powerful women are being called b*tches for standing up for themselves.

“I think this project for me was a really great experience, it felt like the first thing I’d created on my own that then became realised, it was amazing.”

Another NTU Theatre Design student who was involved in the highly anticipated re-opening of the Castle is Emma Bullman, 22.

The performance she designed told the story of Daniel Diggle, a stockinger in the 18th century who paid the ultimate price for his rebellion against the development of technology, by being sentenced to be hung.

Dumo MK performed the role of stockinger Daniel Diggle designed by Emma Bullman (Credit: Emma Bullman)

The student said: “It was a really great experience collaborating with both Nottingham Castle and Television Workshop.

“My CosProp featured a mechanical arm and prosthetic leg.

“I carefully examined the way in which stocking looms operated and used this as inspiration of how the hand should work.

“I used wood and threads to mimic the appearance of the weaving frames and used springs and hinges to make the hand function.”

In a statement for Nottingham Trent University, representatives from the Nottingham Castle Trust said: “It has been a delight working with the students from NTU and the performers from Television Workshop.

“Nottingham has such a richness of emerging talent and it’s been brilliantly displayed in the ‘Ghosts’ project.

“We look forward to many more collaborations.”

Nottingham Castle is due to re-open its doors on June 21, 2021, following a £29.8m transformation.

General admission tickets are available now and range from £12 for students to £13 for adults, while residents of the NG1 to NG9 and NG11 postcodes can receive a 10 per cent discount.

Lead image: Arran Bee

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