Twelve Miles From Nowhere

This collection of photographs charts the making of a play for young people. It shows the bringing together of four actors and their journey to write a play collaboratively with an award-winning playwright, Kevin Dyer.



ACTION TRANSPORT THEATRE is commissioned by Cheshire County Council’s Rural Touring Arts Network to produce a play. The writers are Sarah Calver, Doug Crossley, Freddie Machin and Ben Worth.

Their brief is to write a piece of theatre reflecting the life and aspirations of young people living in rural areas in Cheshire. A number of youth groups are given the opportunity to meet with the writers both on their own ground and, later, in ATT’s studio space to share their ideas and experiences of growing up in a rural environment – ‘in the sticks.’

Through the following months, as the play takes shape,  readings are held with other invited groups to test out ideas. The play was originally set in America’s Midwest and, strangely, seemed to have a resonance with the young people consulted. Two of the writers felt that the piece was going in a different direction from the original. There was much debate and the setting is now pulled back to a remote part of England.

At the end of the year, a script in hand presentation of the piece is held at ATT before an invited audience. Directed by Kevin Dyer, the play is finally ‘on its feet!’  Produced on the traverse with audience arranged on either side, the writers have woven a story that is based on ‘true life’ experiences and their own imagined scenarios, making a powerful piece of theatre.

An ‘end on’ production of the play is produced at the Forum Theatre, Chester, with audiences on three sides.  Atmospheric guitar music is played by one of the ATT’s young writers. (There are no photographs for this production.)

March 2009

Performing arts students from West Cheshire College take a production of the play to the drama department of Blacon High School, Chester, followed by workshops led by University of Chester students.

November 2011

TWELVE MILES FROM NOWHERE completes its brief and tours rural venues in Cheshire.

Set in a remote farm in the North of England, teenagers Michael and Emily’s lives have stood still since their mother left. Their father, James, has given up the struggle to keep the farm going but the arrival of a stranger, Craig, promises to give the opportunity for James’ luck to change.  Michael and Emily soon realise that Craig has ambitions of his own  – for the farm and for Emily. When Craig is forced off the farm, Michael and Emily look forward to the future – and so does James.  

James                            Tom Tunstall

Emily                             Sarah Calver

Michael                         Freddie Machin

Craig                              Ben Worth

Director                         Kevin Dyer

Production Manager   Mike Francis

September 2013

TWELVE MILES FROM NOWHERE is re-toured nationally with a new cast, director, and production team and produced by Karen Simpson Productions in association with ATT and Cheshire’s Rural Touring Arts. Writer Sarah Calver writes additional scenes.

James                           Barry Hall

Emily                            Ashleigh Cordery

Michael                        Danny Childs

Craig                             Gary Hanks

Director                        Andrew Breakwell

Designer                       Helen Stewart

Lighting designer       Mark Dymock

Composer                    Harri Chambers

Fight director              Kev McCurdy

Stage manager            Colin Newton

Internship                    Rosie Burgess

‘I don’t think I have programmed a piece of theatre for a long time that has had the impact of TWELVE MILES FROM NOWHERE. The craft of the writing is apparent from the start and the script keeps you on the edge of your seat. … It’s a window into the lives of a farming family struggling to make ends meet – it’s gripping drama, funny, moving and shocking.’ Claire Smith – Cheshire Rural Touring Arts.

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2 Comments Add Yours

  1. Sarah Selzer

    Powerful images of a powerful story. Also fascinating to see the ‘craft’ behind a play – and the journey it can go on.

    • Sylvia Selzer

      Glad you found the journey interesting! It takes a flippin’ long time to make a really good play – and this is a really good play!

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