Studio Theatre West Coast Tour: Saga of Ernest

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Prism Arts Studio Theatre West Coast worked in residence at Distington Community School to create their own Viking Saga – “The Saga of Ernest”.
To inform the production the theatre company researched their Viking heritage by visiting local Viking sites at St. Bees and Gosforth and Manx National Heritage.

Large Curling Dragon by John Lake, Studio Theatre West.

The Vikings first appeared in Cumbria’s Eden valley in 876 AD.

Danish leader, Halfdan, and his troops destroyed much of Carlisle. The Norwegian Vikings continued to invade Cumbria, setting out from bases in Ireland and the Isle of Man and then settling along the west coast of Cumbria.

Crosses, carvings, place names, words and traditions date back to these Norse times. The Vikings introduced the practice of Haaf fishing and Herdwick sheep, which are now such a feature of Cumbria today.

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Viking heritage is scattered across the towns and landscapes of West Cumbria and, from place names to the local dialect, their legacy is still evident today. This National Lottery grant will enable these young people to embark on a real journey of discovery to uncover and capture this fascinating heritage and share it with the rest of the community.”


A Viking ready to attack, Prism Arts Studio Theatre West at the Isle of Man


Making Viking cloth at Distington Community School

The project has been made possible by the support of Mayfield SEN School, Whitehaven, Distington Community School, Workington and Holme St Cuthbert’s Primary School, Solway, who will contribute their time and resources to the project.

Studio Theatre West and the Children of Distington and Holme St Cuthbert Primary Schools learn about Viking warfare.

Studio Theatre West and the Pupils of Distington and Holme St Cuthbert Primary Schools discover how the Vikings made and dyed cloth.

Studio Theatre discover their Viking Heritage on the Isle of Man with Heritage Partners Manx Heritage.  Visiting Peel Castle, the Manx Museum, the House of Manannan and Balladoole.

A Viking Invasion took over Distington Community School grounds on the 11th June from 10am – 2pm, with Herlid Vikings engaging in battle, weapon demonstrations and artworks on display.

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