World famous directors will attend UCLan student Beth's animated film premiere in Manchester

UCLan student Beth Joy's animated film is being shown at the Manchester Histories Festival
UCLan student Beth Joy's animated film is being shown at the Manchester Histories Festival

As movies go, Beth Joy’s short film may not break box office records but it is expected to pull in the crowds in Manchester on Friday.

The University of Central Lancashire student’s animation will be a highlight of a major event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

The 19-year-old has created a 90 second animated film telling the story of George Dewhurst, who was fighting for worker’s rights at one of the darkest times in British political history.

She researched the life of George, who was imprisoned for high-treason in Lancaster Castle after being part of the movement which fuelled the gathering of workers 200 years ago in St Peter’s Square, before sketching up to 20 drawings.

The images, some taking up to 20 hours each to produce, were scanned and digitised to create the film..

Beth, who was granted special permission from a judge to draw the interior of Lancaster Crown Court, has been working on the project for the last two months.

First year student Bet, who hails from Wigan, said: “It’s been great for me to adapt my hand drawing skills and combine those sketches with digital technology to bring George’s very moving story to life.

“It’s been fascinating learning about a man whose story has been lost from the history books.”

She added: “ To know that a huge audience will see my work, including two huge names in the film industry, is mind-blowing.”

Karen Shannon, CEO of Manchester Histories, said: "Using creative and innovative means, like animation, to bring history alive is a vital part of what is taking place as part of the Peterloo Festival events this summer.

To be able to include the film from the University of Central Lancashire, depicting George’s life, adds a great deal of context and detail to the picture we are painting about the lives of those individuals who helped drive the workers’ rights movement."

Some of the history for Beth’s film about Blackburn born George was provided by his distant relative Emma Speed, UCLan’s Creative Industries innovation manager.

The animation will be screened on Friday in St Peter’s Square, in Manchester’s city centre, the site of the massacre, to an audience of around 800 people.

Among them will be the world renowned directors Danny Boyle and Mike Leigh, as part of the Manchester Histories Festival.