We are a touring theatre company telling the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

I Dig Canals


The project is now complete and we’re working on preparing the audio and summaries to go to the Waterways Archive at Ellesmere Port.

You can watch an introduction/overview of the project and a wonderful short film made by the talented Erin Hopkins our You Tube channel. Clicking on the Heritage fund logo will take you there.

And if you’d like to buy a copy of the new I Dig Canals book (or our earlier Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways), just click HERE

And when you’d like to dig a bit deeper, hear more of the memories and stories told by our amazing contributors, listen to our series of podcasts featuring the voices of the women whose stories we have heard

Listen to the I Dig Canals podcasts

Note: Soundcloud always shows the most recent podcast at the top. You can listen in any order, but you might like to scroll down or click here to start with the Introduction.



The Black Country has some 100 miles of canals. Most are only still there to walk along, boat, fish or glimpse from a train because a group of dedicated campaigners wouldn’t let go. They protested, lobbied, dug out the weeds, took risky journeys through tunnels to prove they were still navigable, even learned bricklaying to rebuild locks and bridges.

And there are lots of stories and accounts about these campaigners, but they are mostly about the men.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has supported a project seeking the unheard stories of women who took part in campaigns to save and restore canals in the Black Country between the end of the Second World War and the 1970s.

But why ‘I Dig Canals’? Click on the project logo to find out…


Acts of Abandon

One Act abandoned a canal, another brought new (if rather unorthodox) activity to another. In 1939 an Act of Parliament legally abandoned the, now fully restored, Droitwich Canal. And after the war a couple of enterprising women discovered that no-one had got round to repealing an 18th century law that allowed a brothel on a boat…

Our new double bill first performed at Braunston Marina in June 2019 has toured the Southern Oxford Canal this autumn and the Midlands over the winter. We had planned to head to the canals of the north (Trent and Mersey, Bridgewater, Macclesfield, Leeds & Liverpool, perhaps even the Lancaster) with both Acts of Abandon and Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways but, like every other theatre company, we’re having a bit of a rethink…

But fear not, we’ll still be telling stories of women and the waterways somehow…


A powerful reminder of the crucial role women played in keeping the country running during the war.

Theatre Things, 26/4/17

 Both women are exceptional storytellers, their performances brimming over with personality and linguistic virtuosity.

London City Nights, 24/4/17

Idle Women of the Waterway Waterways makes a delightful evening and if you find this show is coming to a canal near you then make an effort to catch it!

London Grip, 27/4/17


Thank you to ABNB boat brokerage who have supported us since Autumn 2016 with advertising, flyers and posters.


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