This weekend Fizzgigs, Ellesmere’s community’s arts group, put on a specially commissioned show to delighted audiences. Over 400 people enjoyed ‘Bridging the Gap’, a 60-minute play with music at Ellesmere’s canal maintenance yard.

Mirjana Garland, Chair of Fizzgigs and the musical director, said ‘It has been wonderful to bring together so many people from the wider community, especially to involve Alison Utting as director, well-known locally for her dramatic skills.’

The script was written by talented local writer Shaun Higgins with songs by Mirjana Garland.  It focused on how what is now known as The Llangollen Canal began, particularly its route through Ellesmere.

Kate Westgate, Fizzgigs member and one of the organisers of the event, said, ‘At the height of the canal mania, local landowners were desperate for the canal to go through their land. And all in pursuit of profit.’

She added, ‘Most people have heard of Thomas Telford; fewer of a rather reserved engineer called William Jessop yet he was responsible for the initial route-planning. The contrast between these two men lay at the heart of the show.’

The story that unfolded was done in a light-hearted way with audience participation, lively songs and some of Fizzgigs’ trademark incredible props.

One audience member said, ‘We were entranced. It was a delight to see so many talented people. Whenever I hear the name of Thomas Telford in future, I will smile with delight!’

There was much to see and do with historic narrowboat Saturn open to view. Over fifty people took tours of the unique buildings. Suzie Gale from Coedpoeth said, ‘What an interesting place. Our guide was so knowledgeable but in an accessible way. This has been a great afternoon!’

Kate Westgate added, “We are grateful for the support of the Media and Art Partnership which is working with Canal & River Trust to rejuvenate the historic maintenance yard.’

Details of all Fizzgigs activities can be found at

Find out about events at the maintenance yard by searching ‘Ellesmere Yard’ on Facebook and on Twitter & Instagram @EllesmereYard.