Shoots & Roots

Festival on the Moor received an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Young Roots Programme for a 2 year World War 1 themed project.

The project, entitled 'Ghosts of Heroes', encouraged young people to find out more about their local heritage, focussing on the wreck off Whitby of the hospital ship, Rohilla, the bombardment of Whitby and the effect of War on the people living in the town and the surrounding villages.

Research was used to create a website and specially commissioned plays to present the stories through music and drama.

The project got underway in September 2014 and members of the Festival's Youth Group, 'Shoots & Roots', plus young people from Eskdale School, Caedmon College, Botton School and Whitby Music Centre, have worked with professional writer and musician, Richard Grainger to produce three separate productions of Stormbound - a folk opera about the wreck of the hospital ship, 'Rohilla', and a production entitled 'Ghosts of Heroes' which looked at the effects of War on the local community and what happened to some of the men who's names appear on memorials in the area.

In 2015 members of the Festival's Shoots & Roots group worked with local writer, Maggie Kraus, to create a short play about the Bombardment of Whitby.


With an audience of almost 400 people, many of whom were descendents of people who died in the shipwreck, those who were lucky enough to be rescued or indeed were the rescuers, the first show in November 2014, was a great start.

Lots of hard work went into producing the show in a short time scale. All the young people involved, as well as Richard Grainger, the writer and producer and Ivan Hall, Narrator and producer, managed to put together an amazing show and a CD to be proud of. A shorter version was produced for Whitby Sea Festival 2015, performed to a completely new audience, many of whom were tourists or from overseas.

The second major show, in March 2016, was a slightly different version, utilizing the ideas and talents of a mostly new group of young people from the Whitby area. The show was performed in Whitby's Pavilion Theatre to a packed house and was great experience for all involved.

The Bombardment of Whitby, which took place in December 1914, was a huge shock to the townspeople. Miraculously only two lives were lost but there was much damage to homes and other buildings. This event was commemorated in the Festival's annual Christmas production, 'Wassail', with a short play performed by young people from the Festival's Shoots & Roots group.

Painting of The Bombardment of Whitby by William Scott Hodgson (Collection Pannet Art Gallery, Whitby)

Whitby Abbey was severely damaged by the attack

Playwriting sessions for the Bombardment playlet

Ghosts of Heroes

The final part of the project resulted in a musical play, 'Ghosts of Heroes', which we performed at Botton Village and Whitby Pavilion during December 2016. A fantastic community event, the shows featured more than 100 young people from the area plus not so young amateur and professional singers, musicians and actors. Using material sourced by the young participants, the play, written and produced by Richard Grainger with co- writer and producer, Ivan Hal, was a moving tribute to the local men who lost their lives and the families worrying and struggling at home during those four long years.

Please check out our Young Roots project website for more info at

CD's of both parts of the project are available to purchase here.

Click Here to Buy CDs

Stormbound for Primary Schools

The Youth Group have developed a special production aimed at primary school pupils, so they too can find out more about this important event in the town's history.

Stormbound for Primary Schools Leaflet (PDF, 13kb)

Stormbound Gallery

Stormbound: First rehearsal for Stormbound at Eskdale School Stormbound: Don't panic yet Richard, there's loads of time!!! Stormbound: Chris Parkinson working with Harry to create a musical backdrop for his poem Stormbound: Ivan Hall, our Narrator deep in thought Stormbound: The flyer for our first performance at St Hilda's - part of the Rohilla Centenary Weekend Stormbound: Getting the facts right! Stormbound: Rohilla Rehearsls Harry Poem Stormbound: Hon Curator of the RNLI Museum, Pete Thompson, came in to Eskdale to show us some fantastic pics and tell us all about the disaster Stormbound: Hon Curator of the RNLI Museum, Pete Thompson, came in to Eskdale to show us some fantastic pics and tell us all about the disaster Stormbound: A short presentation at Eskdale Stormbound: Preparations weren't too stressful Stormbound: Guess what we're being....? Stormbound: Recording the Stormbound CD at Caedmon College Stormbound: Recording the Stormbound CD at Caedmon College Stormbound: Recording the Stormbound CD at Caedmon College Stormbound: Karen very happy with her Martha Mackenzie costume Stormbound: Backstage at The Stormbound Show in November Stormbound: Alethea having some trouble with her many undergarments! Stormbound: Nearly time to go on - nerves are showing... Stormbound: Last minute tune up Stormbound: Last minute tune up Stormbound: Nearly 400 people came to see us. Scary - but at least they were smiling! Stormbound: Nearly 400 people came to see us. Scary - but at least they were smiling! Stormbound: Main cast members posing for the local newspaper.

Shoots & Roots Archive

Members of Festival on the Moor's youth group, 'Shoots & Roots' were busy in 2013 taking part in the Festival's community celebration of Christmas, 'Wassail'.

Wassail Rehearsals 2013

Wassail Rehearsals 2013

Festival on the Moor was awarded funding by The Heritage Lottery Fund for this Young Roots Project in late 2007.

'The Young 'Uns - inspiration for Young Folk everywhere - were involved at the very beginning of Shoots & Roots

The project, specifically for young people aged between 13 and 21 yrs, aims to develop a greater understanding and awareness of the local heritage of the North York Moors through folk song, music and dance.

'Katus' held a Young Roots workshop at ROOTS NORTH in September 2008 demonstrating a great variety of traditional instruments

Workshops take place in schools, youth groups and at festivals. The project also provides a growing instrument library where instruments can be tried and borrowed and free tuition provided. This library is an ongoing feature with new instruments and equipment being added according to demand.

Traditional Folk band MAWKIN held a YOUNG ROOTS workshop during Festival on the Moor at Osmotherley in early September 2008

In addition to instrument tuition professional help in singing techniques, songwriting, storytelling, drama and folk dance is also on offer.

Well known Canadian Guitarist Rick Bockner at a workshop in Glaisdale Nov 1st 2008

Young people who take part in the project have had the opportunity to perform at various events to show off their talents and to meet and learn more from professional and more experienced performers.

The Moorland Whalers

Phase 2 of the project focussed on the production of a 'Folk Opera' entitled The Moorland Whalers. Written by North Yorkshire Folk singer/songwriter, Richard Grainger, and produced in conjunction with The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, the group performed the play as part of the 2009 Ryedale Folk Weekend. They enjoyed the experience so much that they wanted to perform it again, and did so at Scarborough's Seafest in July 09. Some group members also worked with visual artist, Maria Silmon, to produce an audio visual exhibition of the project, also shown during the Festival weekend.

See the finished audio visual piece here:

The Moorland Whalers at Ryedale Folk Weekend

Throughout the project, we also had a sword – dancing group and these members performed twice at Yorkshire Wassail performances during Christmas 2008 and 2009.

Yorkshire Wassail poster designed by Shoots & Roots member, Becky Webster

Young Roots Project


Young Folk between the ages of 13 and 21 are invited to join in Festival on the Moor's Young Roots group.

Membership is free to all those living in North Yorkshire and Teesside.
A unique opportunity for young people to explore their local heritage and other disciplines such as music, drama and dance.

Sword dancers at the Yorkshire Wassail


Strings Workshop at St George's Day event in Danby Village Hall

Please phone us on 01947 811508 or email for more details.