Oddsocks receives bursary towards its new base

Published: 8 October 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Oddsocks working on its new base, a disused chapel at Lea

A Derbyshire-based theatre company has been awarded £2,500 and become the first recipient of a bursary set up to remember one of the county’s top folk musicians.

Family-run company Oddsocks Productions will put the Mick Peat Drystone Bursary towards renovating a chapel as its base and sharing it with the community and other arts organisations as a rehearsal and performance space.

Drystone Arts is a not-for-profit initiative set up to celebrate the county through creativity, heritage and sharing. President Mick Peat died in 2020 and the remaining members set up a bursary in his name.

Songwriter John Tams, who is artistic director of Drystone Arts, presented the award to Oddsocks Productions at a concert in Peat’s honour.

Oddsocks has been based in Derbyshire for 23 years and tours nationally with its adaptations of Shakespeare and other classic literature. The family and the company were facing an uncertain future because of the pandemic.

They took the decision to sell their family home and invest in a disused chapel in the small village of Lea in Amber Valley.

“We were struggling to see how we could continue to pay our mortgage and, if work did pick up, we needed our own rehearsal space to ensure that we could keep it COVID safe for our company members,” said creative producer Elli Mackenzie.

“We bid for the chapel online which was a nerve-wracking hour to go through, and we got it!”

The Oddsocks family, consisting of Mackenzie, dad Andy Barrow and their children, musician Felix and actor and artist Charlie, plan to renovate the chapel and use it as a rehearsal and performance space for theatre, music, the visual arts and heritage events.

Mackenzie added, “we’ll use the financial donation wisely but, most importantly, we’ll work with Drystone Arts to help bring communities together through the arts. We’re honoured to have received this support.”