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Abney Orchestra
Spinning A Yarn


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Cultural Olympiad

Cultural Olympiad - 3rd & 4th March 2012

Spinning a Yarn

Abney Orchestra worked with many people in the local community to present "Spinning a Yarn", an entirely new piece of musical theatre/light opera based on the industrial revolution in the North of England, focusing on the small mill town of Mossley in Tameside.

Rachael Howarth, Musical Director of Abney Orchestra, oversaw this ambitious project. Local composers Chris Pickett, Chris O'Hara, and Matt Connell along with Rob Webb wrote the music. Spinning a Yarn consists of five scenes detailing life in the different mills, during the depression and up to present day when the mills have been demolished.

Local choirs were on stage as mill workers, singing in choral numbers about life in the mills. Local dancers created traditional clog dance scenes, with choreography by local choreographer Nicola Ellison.

Abney Orchestra has never taken part in such a big project before. Being involved in the writing and creation of the project pushed members' skills and abilities to the limit, inspiring each of us to go beyond our personal best. And we did it well. Each participant had their own personal part to play which required lots of practice to get to perfection. We were working with many new people and groups in the local community and beyond and created a legacy choir.


The performances took place in the George Lawton Hall Mossley on the site of the old Albion Mill on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March 2012. There was an exhibition detailing the history of the town.

Links to related articles

Article in the Tameside Advertiser 9/2/2012 here.
Making Music article about the Music Nation weekend as part of the Cultural Olympiad here.
Read about the Cultural Olympiad here.
See the London 2012 Olympic web site here.
Find out what the BBC have to say here.
Read the Guardian article here.
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Abney Orchestra, Abney Church, Huddersfield Road, Mossley, OL5 9BT