New Street Station history project for young people

Young actor playing the part of an ice cream seller for visiting school pupils
Young actor playing the part of an ice cream seller for visiting school pupils MAT

Heritage Grants

Birmingham, West Midlands
Midland Actors Theatre
£21800
Young people from Midland Actors Theatre joined the Library of Birmingham to explore and share the 160-year history of New Street Station.

New Street Station was built in 1854 on the site of a Birmingham prison. Inspired by the site’s current regeneration, 90 young people explored why the station was built and the impact it had on people’s lives. With support and training from Birmingham Library, the young people chose how they wanted to explore this past and split into groups to research archives, interview people, write scripts and create an exhibition that was seen by thousands of commuters.

To share what they had uncovered, the young people acted out some of the colourful characters from the station’s past and led 300 visitors around the station to encounter the ghosts of New Street.

Katie Tonks, one of the young actors, said: “I played the role of an Italian ice cream seller situated in front of New Street station… It was lovely interacting with all the children.”

Young film-makers from North Birmingham Academy then wrote and shot several short dramas inspired by the hidden histories.

All the oral history recordings, research and films were finally preserved in Birmingham library archive and online for future generations.

To find out more visit the New Street Station project website or listen to an interview with the participants.

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