In 1888, a respected grocer, farmer and mine owner, called Richard Boyns, published a novel called TIN, about his father’s involvement in a blatant swindle by a local bank in West Cornwall.
Though he changed all the names, the characters were easily recognizable and the novel caused outrage. The bankers bought up as many copies of first edition as they could find and burned them.
Fortunately a few survived and this colourful Victorian novel provided the basis for a stage play produced by Miracle Theatre in 2012, in partnership with English Touring Opera and Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. It has taken a further 3 years to transform this show into a feature film.
To tell this very Cornish story, the producers decided to work with local actors, crew and postproduction facilities. For instance, the visual effects were done by award-winning animation company Spider Eye, which just happens to be based in the old Consolidated Bank building in St Just, where the real-life forgery took place 135 years ago.
TIN was part of a digital project, funded by NESTA and the Arts Council of England, to look at innovative ways of capturing small-scale theatre productions for wider distribution, with the aim of reaching new audiences and markets.
Audience comments from the sell out stage production of Tin in 2012:
“You would need a heart of tin not to warm to it – all Cornish life is there!’’
“Poignant and wonderful.”
“A wonderful story of mischief, love, music and high drama.”