Peak Rail hosts new wartime musical Sparrows

Sharon Holland Taylor with the steam train at Peak Rail
Sharon Holland Taylor with the steam train at Peak Rail

It’s full steam ahead for a playwright and actor who is bringing a piece of history to life, with the help of a cast of young performers.

Sharon Holland Taylor is at the helm of Bakewell-based theatre company Act on it Productions which is running a unique youth arts project this week.

Participants in a summer school run by the company have focused on a new musical which records the evacuation of children from Manchester to Bakewell in the Second World War.

Their finished work will be premiered to the public at Peak Rail on Saturday, August 10, where a steam train will add authenticity.

Sharon said: “The piece is not just an accurate record of events but is a fun, lively production and will give 8-16 year olds the opportunity to be part of a unique and challenging theatre event.”

She has written the script alongside musician Sammy King who produced the original score.

Sharon’s research for the production highlighted fascinating facts about family life during the war. These include stories about children going off to school and on the same day being transported to a different part of the country to stay with strangers.

She discovered that 350 evacuees were brought to Bakewell and Rowsley on September 1, 1939. “Families in the area were allocated the children and Derbyshire was a very different environment from the city,” said Sharon.

“Plenty of tremendous stories have come to light since I began to gather local tales, perfect material to make Sparrows very authentic.”

The young cast of 25 began rehearsing for the show at the beginning of this week.

“It’s a challenging rehearsal period but the cast are so enthusiastic and already loving the music,” added Sharon.

Sparrows will be shown this Saturday at 2pm and 7pm at Peak Rail, Rowsley South, off Harrison Way, Darley Dale. Tickets are available at Matlock Station 01629 580381 and at Bakewell Bookshop. Adults £7.50 and £6.50 (concessions)and family ticket (two adults, two children) £20.

For further information, visit or contact 01629 812388