Guest post: Oliver Briscoe from the National Waterways Museum presents site-specific theatre from their youth drama group

Our latest guest post comes from Oliver Briscoe, Marketing & Events Manager of the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.


This is the first year that we at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port will be taking part in the Museums At Night programme and we can’t wait!

Our site, which has 14 buildings and seven and a half acres of land, is a magical place at twilight, but it’s not a view of it which the public generally get to see. We have held concerts and canal cruises at night before, but this will be the first time that all the parts of the museum will be open so late.

A watering can decorated in traditional canal painting style

Traditionally decorated watering can

And to make the event more special we’ll be showcasing our new youth drama group – who will be presenting a range of stories from the characters who make up the rich canal culture. This is a really exciting new group which has been brought together by our new Youth Activities Co-Ordinator, Gaynor La Rocca. We’re a very successful museum at getting volunteers involved with the day to day running and the hard work of looking after the boats in the collection – but like a lot of other museums we do have challenges in getting younger people enthused about our work.

Gaynor has been working at the museum for a few months now and she’s been great at getting several programmes off the ground – in addition to the youth drama group there is a regular stand up comedy course and the budding comedians will be performing on our trip boat at the Easter Boat Gathering. Young comedians performing on canal boat cruises is certainly not something which the usual image of a canal museum conjures up!

A barge moored by an old industrial building

A canal boat moored at the museum

So this group of talented youngsters is a great resource for the museum and one which we’ll be making good use of in the future to make the museum really come alive. They are working hard on preparing a piece of site specific theatre which they have devised themselves and will perform on May 28 – 30.

We’re looking forward to our Museums at Night event – it will be the first time for a while that the museum has been able to take part in such a high profile event and it’s a real milestone in our renaissance – and our youth drama group telling tales of generations past will be the icing on the cake.

A photo of two old boats

Scorpio, peacefully moored at the National Waterways Museum


A photo of a man in a coatOliver Briscoe is Marketing and Events Manager at the National Waterways Museum , a role he has held since June 2010. He has also worked at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in his native Norfolk and worked as a journalist, magazine editor and press officer before making the move into museums. He has not yet been let loose at the tiller of a historic boat, but hopefully he’ll get to have a go this summer.

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