Week Three – A Visit to the Cemetery

Tuesday March 19th.

Two days from the start of spring and there’s snow on the ground and a chill in the air. It didn’t stop us from taking our posse up to Undercliffe Cemetery to get a feel of the venue for this summer’s ground-breaking performance though.  We took up three groups starting with our ‘new to English’ students. Armed with out iPads and with Neil to guide us, we toured the grounds and got a sense of the history of  the place. Opened in 1854 and currently the resting place of some 124,000 souls, Undercliffe Cemetery is Grade II listed by English Heritage and one of Bradford’s greatest landmarks.

It is an incredibly atmospheric place and we can’t wait to start to devise a narrative inspired by this setting. The students were full of thoughtful questions about the various monuments and the people they were erected to celebrate. There are simple Quaker graves that reflect their egalitarian philosophy and the opulent tombs of Bradford’s great and good. Perhaps the most thought provoking and moving graves were those of children ‘Born Sleeping’. They left many students deep in reflection, pondering how fragile life is and how important each moment must be. I’m certain that this thought will find its way into our drama.

If you are interested in the cemetery and would like to learn more please visit: www.undercliffecemetery.co.uk

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