Youngsters from across County Durham have taken centre stage to bring the rich and sometimes gruesome history of the region to life.

The troupe of 32 budding actors staged an original outdoor performance inspired by the history and heritage of Bishop Auckland, its residents and the local area as part of Jack Drum Arts Summer School at Auckland Castle.

Aged between seven and 19, the group gave a dramatic rendition of the grisly and ancient local tale of Pollard and the Brawn which follows the fate of a brave knight who vanquished a monstrous wild boar.

They also re-interpreted the story of author Lewis Carroll using Auckland Castle as the setting for his work, ‘The Legend of Scotland,’ and dramatised the highs and lows of Bishop Auckland AFC throughout its sporting history.

Supported by a team of professional musicians and actors from County Durham organisation, Jack Drum Arts, the young people penned stories, wrote songs, recited poetry and crafted props to create their three mini-plays

This hard work culminated in a one-off live performance at the historic Deer House in Auckland Park to an audience of family, friends and members of the public.

Laura Emerson, lead Music and Arts Worker for Jack Drum Arts said: “The young people were amazing, I’ve been absolutely bowled over by them.

“Over the course of the summer school we have seen a change in them, being out in the fresh air, they have grown in confidence and the ability to connect with people.

“Jack Drum Arts is different from school, we’re not marking anyone, we value every step of the journey; there’s no final grade.”

Every youngster taking part in this year’s summer school used the sessions to work towards an Arts Award qualification, Discover and Explore levels and Bronze, Silver and Gold awards

A partnership project from regional charity, Auckland Castle Trust and Jack Drum Arts the summer school is also supported by Youth Music, Durham Works and 3 Towns AAP.

Alison Tweddle, Community Outreach Officer at Auckland Castle Trust, said: “The summer school and Arts Award programmes provide a fantastic opportunity for young people to build on their creative skills and grow in confidence and ability.

“We are so happy to be a part of that process and will continue to support young people through community engagement and schools programmes.”

To learn more about events at Auckland Castle, visit: and for more information about Jack Drum Arts visit: