Arts festival celebrates Derbyshire's historic mill village Darley Abbey

Dance, music and drama will combine in an online festival that brings the story of a historic Derbyshire village to life
Water Hymn, an opera-ballet performance, will celebrate the power of water.Water Hymn, an opera-ballet performance, will celebrate the power of water.
Water Hymn, an opera-ballet performance, will celebrate the power of water.

Seven short films to be premiered on Saturday, May 8, 2021, will tell the story of Darley Abbey through performances by internationally renowned artists from Constella OperaBallet, local choirs, the Derby-based Déda Youth Company, the University of Derby, and local primary schools.

The films include a performance of Introit from Fauré’s Requiem in which more than 30 voices from Derbyshire and beyond, mixed with an organ accompaniment, combine to create a poetic film, remembering those who worked in the cotton mills. Water Hymn is an opera-ballet performance celebrating the power of water. Tangled is a contemporary dance featuring a solo dancer entwined in thread and Brick Row is a music-drama showcasing a snapshot of 18th and 19th century life in the village.

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Darley Abbey’s very own song will be premiered as part of the Spin a Tale festival.

Home to the most complete surviving 18th Century mill complex in the world, Darley Abbey is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The festival will be a highlight of Darley Abbey Day and organisers are inviting people to find their favourite bunting flag and count the bobbins which will be installed from May 8 to 23. The oversized bobbins will be located in Darley Abbey, together with bunting made by the local community responding to the themes of Spin A Tale. Pupils at Walter Evans school have been putting their creative skills to good use in support of the socially distanced trail around the village.

Janet Dean of Darley Abbey Community Association said: “Residents are also decorating their front gardens for the day, so there’ll be a lovely

atmosphere in the village”.

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There’s an opportunity to help raise much needed funds to start a Community First Responder Unit with EMAS in Darley Abbey, supporting the five defibrillators installed by community fundraising at the last Darley Abbey Day in 2017. Funds will also help to maintain St Matthew’s Church and the Community Hall.

The premiere of the online Spin a Tale festival is on Saturday, May 8, at 11am. Book free tickets at

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