HLF Projects

The ReinACTments project was a Heritage Lottery Funded partnership between Open the Door Theatre in Education and Croxteth Hall and Country Park. The project was led by a youth steering committee (YSC) of seven young people aged 13 – 19, supported by Open the Door and Croxteth Hall staff.

The YSC were part of a larger drama group who have been working together for many years. The YSC also invited young people from the surrounding areas to participate in the project.

Despite being an area of considerable natural beauty with many community minded residents, Croxteth has received some very bad press in recent years, leading many young people to feel embarrassed about their area.

While researching the project, the young people learnt of the great historical importance and significance of Croxteth to the British Empire during the first half of the 19th Century, restoring pride in their area and heritage.

Osbert Cecil Molyneux, 6th Earl of Sefton, whose ancestral home was Croxteth Hall, had considerable influence at the time. The 6th Earl was “Master Of The Horse” at the time of the coronation of his friend, King George V in 1911.

Croxteth became one of the first suburbs of Liverpool, thanks to Osbert recruiting many families to work his land and serve in his house. During World War I women tended the land while droves of young men from Croxteth were killed fighting in France and Belgium as part of the 9th Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment. Hundreds of women and children along with many of the traumatised and shell-shocked men who returned from France went on to die in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The Molyneux family were not immune from personal tragedy; their second son, Midshipman Cecil Richard Molyneux, was killed in action in 1916 and their daughter Lady Evelyn died a year later at the age of 14.

The young people wrote and devised the plays themselves, aided by professional writers and directors, dramatically depicting the historical events and figures they researched.

Performing in the exquisitely restored and preserved Edwardian rooms and gardens of Croxteth Hall, the thirty strong cast re-enacted the experience of the Molyneux family, their house servants and those who worked their land during 1914- 1918.

Over the two-week run, more than seven hundred visitors were lucky enough to see the performances as part of the hall’s guided tour, and thousands more saw the alfresco performances in the picturesque gardens.