Legendary performance set for festival launch

CHILDREN across Scarborough have been taking “the lore” into their own hands as part of a project organised by Rollercoastival Children’s Festival for Scarborough Literature Festival.

Lore Unto Ourselves is a project which introduces children to the local Yorkshire legend of the Gytrash of Goathland.

“Literature can be many different things and we thought it would be fun for the children to explore the tradition of folklore – and there’s plenty of that in Yorkshire!” said Rollercoastival organiser, Dorcas Taylor.

“The story of the Gytrash of Goathland has all the classic elements of a local yarn – it’s scary, it’s gory, it’s about good and evil and it doesn’t really have a ‘happy ever after’. It leaves you wondering whether something could be hiding out there on the North Yorkshire Moors. The children love it!”

Rollercoastival and Scarborough Literature Festival have been working with 4th and 9th Scarborough Brownies, 4th Scarborough Boys Brigade and 46th Scarborough (Westborough) Cobra Cub Scouts to re-tell the tale in a variety of ways – through sound, performance, writing and art.

The legend stems from the time of King Arthur and involves the evil Julian of Goathland who sealed up the beloved maiden Gytha within the walls of his castle, with nothing but her spindle and spinning wheel. Gytha gets her revenge by weaving invisible threads that slowly paralyse Julian until his soul leaves him one night in a storm. The Gytrash – Goathland’s own Hound of the Baskerville - haunts the countryside of Julian Park around Goathland to this day.

Artist Gabrielle Naptali is working with 4th Scarborough Company Boys Brigade. She said: “I grew up with this story and my father would sometimes threaten me with a visit from the Gytrash to get me to go to bed!

“It’s great that this project has given the children a chance to learn more about their local surroundings, history and literary traditions.”

The children are also developing their creative talents with practitioners Rob McKay, who specialises in music technology at the University of Hull’s Scarborough campus, Maria Arnold, director and theatre practitioner, and Lizi Patch, writer and actor.

The children will present and perform their version of the Gytrash of Goathland to an invited audience at the launch of Scarborough Literature Festival on Wednesday, April 13.