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Black Shuck to live again as Orford pupils bring famous story to life

PUBLISHED: 08:37 09 April 2018

Phoebe, Edward, Archie and Ruby with their Hell Hounds ahead of their performance. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Phoebe, Edward, Archie and Ruby with their Hell Hounds ahead of their performance. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Youngsters from an east Suffolk school are to help professional puppeteers to tell the story of Black Shuck later this month.

Edward with his Hell Hound.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEdward with his Hell Hound. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The pupils will be helped by Sussex based company Rust and Stardust who have worked with the school for over two years: bringing performances of legendary local tales, such as the Green Children of Woolpit, to life.

This year, however, is the first time the children will be able to get involved in telling the tale of one of Suffolk’s most notorious characters.

According to legend a ghostly black dog, known as Black Shuck, is said to have roamed the region hundreds of years ago.

A fearless creature who many consider to have been a bringer of death.

Archie with his finished puppet.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNArchie with his finished puppet. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The youngsters . all year 6 students, will only have a matter of weeks to get to grips with puppetry before putting on a show for parents and members of the public at the end of the month at St Batholomew’s Church.

The project is being supported by the Thomas Marshall Education Fund which is run in memory of Orford teenager Thomas Marshall who died in a road accident in 2009.

They helped the school and Rust and Stardust to get in contact back in 2015.

Eleanor Conolon from Rust and Stardust: “We’ve been working with the school for nearly two years. It’s a really nice way for kids to get involved in something like this.

Ruby giving her hound a cuddle.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRuby giving her hound a cuddle. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The children have been making their own hell hounds.”

The hell hounds are mini versions of Black Shuck that will help to play a chorus role in the production and have been made in class by the pupils.

The puppet used to play Black Shuck will be much bigger than the hell hounds, according to Eleanor, and standing a few feet tall when performed.

All the students taking part in the performance are hoping to complete their Arts Award qualification by taking part.

Phoebe having a practise with her puppet.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPhoebe having a practise with her puppet. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The award recognises young people’s interest and commitment to the arts by asking them to complete a number of arts-related pieces of work.

It’s hoped that at the end of the project the church may display some of the children’s work created for the performance.

The performances of ‘The Legend of Black Shuck’ will take place on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 April at St Batholomew’s Church in Orford.

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