A MUCH-LOVED Ashbourne animal rescue centre is taking the leading role in a new play.
Crich playwright Tim Elgood was literally in The Doghouse to research his latest play of the same name, which runs for three weeks from May 16 at the Guildhall Theatre, Derby.
The dog house in question is our very own Animal Welfare centre, in Wyaston Road, better known to many simply as the Ark.
Tim – who has had numerous plays performed in Derby – describes the poignant comedy as a dog's eye view of being rescued and says it was inspired by his many visits to the Ark and by conversations with manager Barbara Robson.
In addition, he spent time talking to the Ark's army of volunteers, who look after the canine residents and spend many hours walking and playing with them.
Tim says: "There can be few subject matters as emotive as dog rescue and my many visits to the Ark rekindled memories of my teenage volunteer work with another animal welfare centre many years ago.
"My wife and I have owned three rescue dogs during the course of our marriage and the play is dedicated to Harry our wonderful border terrier cross, who is now 16 years old. Harry has been long-suffering but is very tolerant and accepting of us both since being rescued as a puppy."
Barbara Robson was as pleased as Tim when news arrived that Derby Live had decided to stage Tim's work and said: "I have read the script and think Tim has captured many of the dog personalities we encounter – and has managed to portray both the humour and tragedy that surrounds dog rescue.
"We obviously hope the play further raises the profile of the work being carried out by Ashbourne Animal Welfare – we are an independent charity and entirely dependent upon our own efforts and upon the generosity of the public.
"At the moment, we have 20 dogs and more than 40 cats looking for their 'forever' homes."
The Dog House is one of two one-act plays being performed under the joint heading of Mad Dogs and an Englishman, at The Guildhall Theatre, Derby between May 16 and 31. Tickets are available from the Derby Live box office on 01332 255800 or online at www.derbylive.co.uk