Our new show for 2019/20 – but you know what happened. Here’s what you might have seen!

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…

Click on the poster image for more details – we hope we will be able to share some dates for live shows in 2021…


Our recently completed project gathering and sharing the memories and stories of the women who helped save Black Country canals in the 1960s and 70s.

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.

We recorded 19 oral histories, as well as shorter interviews at waterway festivals and reminiscence events.

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.


A double bill of theatre, poetry and songs (including some you get to join in).

We aren’t planning another tour of Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways but looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, the show is available to book – for your village hall, boat club, rally or festival. Our intimate storytelling style is well suited to venues and spaces where a smaller audience can be socially distanced. We can also discuss bringing a shorter version of the show to avoid having an interval. Get in touch to find out more.

Book this show

About the show

Who were the Idle Women?

More information about The Idle Women

Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways
Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways


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