IAA project type: Creative residency

Duration of project: April - January 2024

Partner organisation: Bamalam Productions CIC and five new writers from the north of England

MOLA staff leading IAA grant: Kelly Griffiths

Project aims

A team of five northern writers will collaborate with MOLA and North West production company Bamalam CIC to produce a professional audio drama entitled Scuttled as 5x30 minute episodes. Telling the story of a single family living and working on the Rochdale Canal between 1840 and 1922, Scuttled will be based on an ongoing archaeological dig in the area by MOLA. 

The writers will be drawing upon MOLA’s recent excavations on Mersey Flat type barges in the historic canal basin of Rochdale, augmented with research carried out – under the direction of MOLA’s Kelly Griffiths – at the Rochdale Archives, with the drama’s narrative culminating in the scuttling of the boats. 


  • New writers and actors in the north of England 

  • KS2 children in a Rochdale primary school- who will participate in a workshop with their voices being recorded for the drama 

  • members of public who will access the drama via the internet, free at the point of use 

Project plan

This collaboration will have a call out for new writers based in the north, from which five will be selected. Writers will participate in archive sessions and workshops to produce ten-minute scripts each as a basis for the narrative, under the supervision of script editor, and Bamalam trustee, Ian Winterton. 

The drama will be recorded over two days in a Manchester studio with local actors. The voices of the children will be recorded from primary children participating in a workshop run by Bamalam and MOLA. The audio drama will be hosted and accessible for free on various platforms from January.

Project update (9th November 2023)

The five writers have been selected, after an application process that saw 132 submissions. They are: Neil Bell, Isabel Hague, Janine Lanek, Katie Moore and Paul Rigby.

Following workshops and research sessions at Rochdale Archives, the writers delivered their scripts.These have now been turned into a 5x30 minute audio drama script by script editor Ian Winterton and a casting call is about to go live, welcoming applications from all actors living in North West England. More updates soon.