Sand House: a Doncaster Legend Unearthed

Words: Emma Gullon

Doncaster is a hidden gem for local culture; with so many events along with pre-existing history finally being recognised by the public, things are set to make the town a great place for more tourists to come. And now The Sand House Charity have brought to life a Doncaster treasure, long long forgotten. Sand House is the story of a ten bedroom house made entirely out of sandstone, now tragically buried under the Balby Bridge flats.

The story starts back to the 1800’s where Henry Senior is constructing the house and it’s many wondrous sculptures, his eccentricity and imagination beautifully coming together. We then move forward to World War II times where two children, Jim and Alice, are exploring the now decaying caverns, in awe of the spectacle that’s right on their doorstep. The third act moves forward to the 80’s, where the dreaded council meeting the to have the house filled in is taking place, and a now grown up Jim and Alice do whatever it takes to save it.
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This is quite possibly the best piece of theatre I have ever seen in CAST’s Second Space!

The black box theatre was virtually unrecognisable with the sand covered, immersive staging and set design. I felt like I was there in the sand house with it’s many characters it had seen, and it’s journey into disrepair. Who knew it was possible to feel sorry for a building? The acting in this play was incredible too. Even though there was only three actors playing multiple roles, each character had its own distinctive personalities and each transition between the stories’ time zones was carried out effortlessly.

I will not give anything away, but the ending of Sandhouse had me fighting back tears; it was very bitter sweet and really gets you thinking about the future of Doncaster itself for past and  future generations.

I cannot recommend Sand House enough! The unearthing of this remarkable local Doncaster legend is an educational, emotional and spectacular piece of theatre that cannot be missed.

You can still catch tonights (9th June) and tomorrow’s shows and click HERE to book tickets. (Sunday 10th June 4pm show is SOLD OUT)

Photo Credits: Jim Varney/Abberation Film & Photography and Visit Doncaster.

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