The Ballad of Barrow Market


A live promenade theatre performance inspired by tales and reminiscences from Barrow Market. Written by local writers, performed by local people, for everyone.


In the winter and spring of 2017-18 Signal Films ran an Oral History Project celebrating the history of market trading in Barrow. Hundreds of people attended the Signal Films stall on Barrow Market, bringing photographs, objects and memories of Barrow’s markets, old and new.


From that starting point Kate Davis ran a series of writing workshops for local people to develop short play scripts inspired by those stories. Finally, The Ashton Group’s Theatre Factory, using a cast of local performers, staged the pieces first in Barrow Market itself and then at The Dock Museum.



The Mystery Shopper, Compere and Guide to the Market Ballad Phill Gregg

Bell Man Eric Nelson

Bethany Bridget O’Brien

Council Official Dan Hardie

Banana King Nathan Powell

Boris the Butcher Conrad Birchall

Mary Douglas Tracy Jones

Radio Cumbria Reporter Robbie Bown

Rosie Nicole Rose

Jilly Tara Edwards Doughty

Nan Chrissie Bentley

Vikki Karen Hall

Ernest Jon Bissett

Abigail Nicole Rose

Kellie Kelly Tara Edwards Doughty

Andy Damian Rose

Trish Tracy Jones

The scripts were created in writing workshops led by Kate Davis for Signal Films

Banana King Ravi Jeydendren, Caleb Staples, Ellis Dunn

Demolition Jean McSorley

Milliners Tales Brenda Fishwick

Vintage Advantage Derek Bradley

Unmentionables David Clancy

One Cherry Craig Lockhead


The ideas from which the stories evolved were explored and developed by the whole group. Ballads were also written by the whole group.

Polly Wright created and wrote the character of Bethany and the characters The Bell Man and the Market Official were created by Vicky Tighe.




Theatre Factory Team

Directed by Phill Gregg, Karen Hall and Rachel Ashton

Project Managed by Julia Parks for Signal Films



Performed at Barrow Dock Museum on Friday 18 May 2018



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