Drummonds Mill opened in the 1880s, at a time when Bradford was responsible for a third of the world’s wool production and closed just under 10 years ago. The audience led through its abandoned departments by caretaker Frank – played with self-deprecating melancholy by Geoff Leesley – and as the tour progresses it becomes increasingly apparent that we are journeying through Frank’s own recollections, animated by apparitions of former mill-workers and the crushing roar of phantom looms.
The holes where the textile machinery use to be are revealed at every room, The endless pillars and vast space, cracked paintwork, piles of discarded boxes, furniture, trolleys and bobbins, the layers of history, a jaunt into the past. A place once active with hundreds of people, where women sang songs to drown out the sound of machinery, is now empty. The vacuous spaces, the bits of wool still hanging from pillars, the paper patterns stuck between the pipes on the wall, the smell of damp, the sound of dripping water, the concrete floor, the endless glass roof, incoming light, faded warning signs, the benches, the wool samples, lab equipment … is left now for the piece to make a sense of.
Most of the set and the props used in the production were found abandoned inside the mill. The piece was based on the relationships between the mill workers and was set between the post-war period and today, as this is in the living history. The lives of the people in the mill echo once again.
‘Assorted artefacts salvaged from the building to transform nooks and crannies into striking theatrical spaces.’
‘The past looms large’, Telegraph & Argus.
Disused Drummonds Mill, Bradford UK
Set designer: Roma Patel
Costume designer: Roma Patel
Lighting designer: Lumen
Sound designer: Composer- Janek Schaefer
Digital video NA: Photographer- Tim Smith
Director/choreographer: Madani Younis & Omar Eleria
Other creative collaborators: co-writers Jonathon Holmes & Madani Younis
WHAT WE DID
Set design / Costume design / Set build