One Breath

One Breath looks at life in Cawthorne over the past 1,000 years through the eyes of one family, the Ainleys. The play arose to celebrate the Millennium and as with all our community dramas was specially written for the occasion by Sylvia Le Breton.

The play is based on a true incident at Hade Edge sheep fair near Penistone in 1998. A farmer was forced by circumstances to sell fity lambs for £5.00 each. At that time (even more than now) farming was an unreliable and at times heart-breaking way of life. Farmers were amongst the highest suicide risks in Britain.

Despite the dark seam that runs through the play, ultimately it is a celebration of life and of the human spirit. It was our first community drama; we had no track record and it was hard to get it off the ground. But, like Topsy, "it growed." People came from all over and in the end we had a cast of around a hundred, acting, singing, dancing and making music. Ages ranged from seven to seventy; a true community event.


The play's wonderful music was composed by Stephen Byrne. Some time later, Richard Northern, a member of Cawthorne Band, arranged for a professionally- produced CD to be made; the music, adapted and played by Sellers International Band.

Click here to hear a short extract.

Another outcome of the play was the book "Bingo Wings" written by local poet Annette Dancer, who made her character in the play, the Blacksmith's wife, the star of an amusing and touching collection of poems.

Our production team aspired to and achieved the same high standards as the performers. Over two hundred costumes were made, including Norman and Saxon helmets and shields. Stage, seating and set were built outside in Cannon Hall Park and the weather was (mostly) kind to us.

The play was a sell out with two further performances at Elsecar Heritage Centre in November 2000.