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Shropshire
Saturday, August 20, 2022
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Towering Boatwomen to visit Ellesmere

Fizzgigs, Ellesmere’s Community Arts Group, has joined forces with the Canal and River Trust to highlight unique links between the town and the canal in two days of events capturing some of the sights, sounds and stories of the canal’s history.

Canal Boatwomen: Romance and Reality – will feature a blend of music songs and stories
Canal Boatwomen: Romance and Reality – will feature a blend of music songs and stories

Fizzgigs is focusing on the neglected role of women’s work on the waterways in two performances on August 6 and August 13 as part of a series of events at the Canal and River Trust boatyard on Birch Road, Ellesmere, SY12 9AA.

The Fizzgigs story-telling performance – Canal Boatwomen: Romance and Reality – will feature a blend of music songs and stories including a 3.5 metre female figure dressed as a canal boatwoman of the 1920s.

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Rosemary Drake, the inspiration behind the production, said: “I have already dressed this wonderful, large female structure on three previous occasions. Her size and assertive stance alone will make a very positive statement about the strength and vitality of these women.”

On each of two Saturdays actors and musicians will bring alive the stories of four amazing women who worked on the canals in the twentieth century.

There will be two performances on each day at 12.15 p.m. and 2.15 p.m. The Shropshire Boatmen – a shanty group who sing traditional and self-penned canal songs – will perform between the performances.

Kate Westgate of Fizzgigs said: “We are so lucky to have national canal expert and local resident Tony Lewery as a member of our group. He has helped us uncover the lives of the canal boatwomen, both real and fictional.

“We are also massively grateful to Heather Wastie of Alarum Productions for allowing us to use some of their material.”

She added that there would be plenty of other attractions at the boatyard.

The historic and unique flyboat ‘Saturn’ will be moored on site available for viewing, the Paddle Brothers will have boards for hire and the 2022 Poet Laureate of the Canals will be appearing on August 6.

Visitors can also book a conducted tour of the purpose-built canal yard that dates from 1806 where equipment and artefacts are of national significance. Details are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ellesmere-yard-tours-tickets-303781196737.

Some car parking is available adjacent to the Birch Road site by following signs from Ellesmere town centre. Pedestrians can also access the site via the towpath from the Wharf.

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